Bad News For Ford In Latest Earnings Report

Ford is seen during the 87th International Motor Show at Palexpo in Geneva

Ford first quarter profit beats estimates, reiterates 2017 profit outlook

The automaker already had warned its investors that its profit for the first quarter would drop by over 50% to between 30 cents and 35 cents a share.

The automaker, based in Dearborn, Michigan, also was faced with a hard comparison for the first quarter of a year ago and has come face to face with dropping sales in the industry in the U.S.

Ford maintained its expectation for a full-year 2017 pretax profit of around US$9 billion, down from a record of US$10.4 billion in 2016.

A favorable mix of more profitable trucks and SUVs drove a 4 percent increase in revenue.

Ford's retail share rose two-tenths of a percentage point, thanks to sales of trucks, utilities and luxury vehicles. Ford said its increased expenses also stemmed from higher commodity costs and investing in new models.

Shanks said Ford's own used-car values at its finance arm were down 7 percent compared to the same quarter in 2016, but said customers' credit scores remained high and we "feel really good about where credit is".

Profit margins there fell 4.6 percentage points to 8.3 percent, and Ford's market share fell 0.5 percentage points to 14.1 percent due to lower fleet sales. Ford listed $467 million in warranty costs for the quarter, including two product recalls in March that cost the company $295 million.

Ford Motor kept costs in check as it began laying down a bet on an age of electric and self-driving cars, buoying profits that should improve later this year.

Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks told reporters at the company's headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, that additional costs made this the "toughest quarter" for 2017.

Kudla said Ford is reporting "solid" results, but said much remains to be seen this year.

Ford delivered 1.7-million vehicles globally in the first quarter, while Daimler delivered 754,300, of which 568,100 were Mercedes-Benz cars. But there are already signs of improvement in that market, Shanks said.

North American sales totaled 771,000 units and revenues of $24 billion.

Average transaction prices rose by $1,971 year over year, driven by the best-selling F-150, the Super Duty pickups and the Lincoln brand.

"This will be the toughest quarter", he said, although he noted that Ford's lowest profits of the year will come in the third quarter, because of seasonal timing. Analysts had expected automotive revenue of $34.7 billion. "Plus (first quarter 2016) was a phenomenal quarter across the board for the industry in the USA and will be an nearly unfair comparison".

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