Ford’s Q4 $1.3 billion caps one of ‘best years ever’ – USA TODAY
Ford Motor made good money the fourth quarter, $1.3 billion in operating profit, capping what the automaker said was “one of the company’s best years ever,” with a full-year operating profit of $8.6 billion, up from $8 billion the year before.
Fourth-quarter net income was $3 billion, padded by a one-time special tax benefit of $2.1 billion, which outweighed a one-time charge of $311 million. Net income for the year was $7.2 billion.
The quarter’s results came out to the same 31 cents per share as a year earlier, which was several cents higher than analysts had forecast.
North American operations generated a full-year profit of $8.8 billion, which will be worth bonuses averaging a record $8,800 to 47,000 union workers.
Ford’s revenue was up 4% for the quarter to about $36 billion and 10% for the year to about $150 billion. It also slightly raised its share of the U.S. market, lost less in Europe and made inroads selling its cars in coastal areas that favor imports.
The stock was basically flat, rising 1 cent to close at $15.72.
Analysts seemed to have factored in the 2013 results and were waiting to see if Ford again cut its profit forecast for this year and cited costs to launch the redesigned F-150 pickup.
It didn’t, affirming the Dec. 18 earnings guidance that shocked analysts at the time: Earnings of $7 billion to $8 billion this year, Ford said then and now, held down by costly new-model launches, including the F-150.
Ford is making the radical shift to lighter-weight aluminum for the F-150 body and cargo box, and investing in high-strength steel for the frame, which is lighter than regular steel. The changes will cut some 700 pounds from the full-size F-150.
Cutting weight improves fuel economy and performance and allows the use of lighter components elsewhere. The truck’s chief engineer, Pete Reyes, insists the aluminum truck will carry more, tow more, and be more resistant to dents in the bed and on body panels than the steel F-150 Ford currently sells.
“This is a gutsy move, as Ford will either leapfrog ahead of the competition on light-weighting vehicles to improve fuel economy, or they could mess up what is arguably one of their most profitable products,” says Christian Mayes, analyst at Edward Jones Equity Research.