Ford makes money

Ford Motor Company earned a record $2.1 billion in the first quarter.

Ford Motor Company earned a record $2.1 billion in the first quarter, or $1.70 per diluted share of common and Class B stock, and posted the 16th consecutive quarter of improved year-over-year operating results. The results compare with first-quarter earnings in 1999 of $2 billion, or $1.60 per diluted share, which included a one-time gain of $165 million, or 14 cents a share, from the dissolution of AutoEuropa. Excluding AutoEuropa, first-quarter earnings rose $265 million or 15 percent.

On April 14, Ford announced that the goal to make Visteon Corporation an independent company would be realised through a 100 percent distribution of stock to Ford shareholders, expected to be completed by this summer. Visteon’s earnings are now reported separately and are treated as a discontinued operation in Ford Motor Company’s financial statements.

Excluding Visteon, first-quarter revenues were a record $43 billion, up $5 billion or 14 percent over the first quarter of 1999. Unit sales were a record 1.9 million, compared with 1.8 million a year ago. Luxury vehicle sales, also a record, were 190,000, an increase of 50 percent from a year ago.

Excluding Visteon, Ford’s earnings from worldwide automotive operations were $1.6 billion, up $271 million or 21 percent from the same period a year ago, excluding the sale of AutoEuropa. Worldwide automotive revenues in the first quarter were a record $36 billion, up 14 percent compared with a year ago. After-tax return on sales was 4.3 percent, up two-tenths of a point from last year’s first quarter, excluding AutoEuropa.

Automotive cash was $23 billion at the end of the quarter, virtually unchanged from the same period last year. Net cash was $12 billion, up $450 million from a year ago.

New products coming later this year include the Ford Escape sport utility, the Volvo S60, a new Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer and a new Mondeo in Europe.

Automotive operations in North America, excluding Visteon, earned a record $1.7 billion in the first quarter of 2000, up $288 million from the same period a year ago. After-tax return on sales was 6.2 percent, up four-tenths of a point.

Total vehicle sales in the United States set a new first-quarter record of 1.2 million cars and trucks. Strong sales were aided by the new Ford Focus, Ford Taurus, Ford F150 SuperCrew, the Ford Explorer Sport Trac and Sport, Jaguar S-Type and the Volvo 70.

In Europe, South America and other overseas markets, however, Ford lost $115 million, about even with last year’s first quarter.