Ford was expected to post a fourth quarter adjusted earnings per share of 42 cents on revenues of $37 billion, according to an analyst survey by Bloomberg. Ford delivered 39 cents adjusted earnings per share.
The profit-sharing checks were more generous for 2016 at $9,000 per employee, reflecting a strong sales year. Checks go out in the spring.
The company saw 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 for the Raptor performance version. All F-Series trucks are built in the U.S., Ford notes.
Ford's revenue worldwide increased 7 percent to $41.3 billion during the fourth quarter, while its pretax profit year over year declined 19 percent to $1.7 billion.
Ford announced a plan to use its capital more efficiently, invest for growth, focus on electric vehicles and invest some $11 billion to convert product lines to battery electric or hybrid vehicles. Ford has committed to bringing 40 electrified vehicles, including 16 full battery electric vehicles, to market by 2022.
In 2017, Ford announced its joint venture with Zotye to develop and manufacture electric vehicles in China, the fastest-growing consumer market in the world. Technology investments are expected to take a toll on revenue.
When Ford last week provided its 2018 full year earnings guidance range of $1.45 to $1.70 per share -- down from what analysts expected, its stock dropped 7 percent. Ford expects an earnings decline in 2018 while its competitors and analysts expect a flat year in the automotive industry.
Wall Street investors remain skeptical of the (F) stock despite revenue generated by trucks. Ford tempered its 2018 forecast by saying the cost of materials, specifically steel and aluminum, is expected to rise significantly. But its competitors General Motors and Fiat Chrysler haven't focused on materials cost in revenue forecasts. New Ram Truck and Chevy Silverado models are expected to crowd the field and potentially cut into the F-series market share
Ford said North America continued to generate most of the profit in the fourth quarter, posting earnings before taxes of $1.6 billion, down 16 percent compared with the same period last year. The company posted a pretax profit of $56 million in Europe and a profit of $5 million in the Asia Pacific region.
Results in South America were a loss of $197 million and a loss of $70 million in the Middle East and Africa.