Ford's North American operating profit increases, but earnings fall overseas

(April 27, 2012) Ford's pre-tax profits in the U.S. increased in the first quarter to $2.1 billion from $1.8 billion last year. But trouble in Europe and Asia has left Ford with an overall operating profit of just $2.3 billion, down $544 million from the first quarter in 2011. Ford has posted a pre-tax operating profit for 11 consecutive quarters.

First quarter net income was $1.4 billion, or 35 cents per share, a decrease of $1.2 billion from first quarter 2011. Ford said about half of the decrease is due to higher tax expense in first quarter 2012, with the balance reflecting lower operating results and increased special charges.

Automotive pre-tax operating profit was $1.8 billion for the first quarter, a decrease of $294 million from first quarter 2011.

Ford posted an operating loss of $149 million in Europe after a profit of $293 million a year earlier. The company attributed the loss to reduced industry volumes and weaker demand for parts and accessories.

Ford also posted an operating loss of $95 million in the Asia Pacific Africa region. That compares with a profit of $33 million a year ago. The company attributed the loss to increased costs associated with its investments in new production in the region and a slower-than-expected launch of the global Ranger pickup from its factories in Thailand and South Africa.

“Our team delivered a solid performance during the first quarter, with particularly strong results in North America, despite a challenging global external environment,” said Alan Mulally, Ford president and CEO. “We remain focused on investing for future growth and developing outstanding products with segment-leading quality, fuel efficiency, safety, smart design and value.”