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F-150 pickups drive 3rd quarter earnings: Ford beats expectations

Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

DETROIT -- Ford announced Thursday a third-quarter profit of $1.6 billion, a 63 percent increase from one year ago.

On a per share basis, the Detroit-area automaker earned 39 cents per share, beating the 33 cents per share average, based on a FactSet survey of Wall Street analysts. That's up from 26 cents per share a year earlier.

Revenue from sales in North America, especially trucks and SUVs, drove the better-than-expected results under the leadership of CEO Jim Hackett, a former office furniture executive who took the helm of Ford in May.

The company is seeing higher profits generated by its F-Series pickups in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. In September, the average F-Series truck sold for $2,300 more than a year ago, or $45,400. Ford is seeing strong demand for the most expensive packages -- Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum -- in the Super Duty trucks and the Raptor performance version.

Ford's revenue worldwide increased 1 percent to $36.5 billion during the third quarter and its pre-tax profit jumped 40 percent to $2 billion.

CFO Bob Shanks said in his morning briefing, "It was a solid quarter, a good quarter. We've seen improvements in growth, profitability and cash flow."

In what analysts are calling a high-profile "second date" with Wall Street investors, CEO Hackett reported having an enormous pile of cash on hand and bigger profits on the nation's most popular pickup truck. The F-150 pickup is a gift that keeps on giving, Hackett said in response to an investor question.

Ford said North America continues to generate most of the profit, posting earnings before taxes of $1.7 billion, up about $400 million, or 33 percent, over the same period last year. Elsewhere, the company posted a pre-tax loss of $86 million in Europe and a profit of $289 million in the Asia Pacific region, more than double its 2016 figure.

The team is "especially happy" with its performance in Australia and India.

Results in South America were a loss of $158 million and a loss of $60 million in the Middle East and Africa.

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