Ford Motor Co. logged a 15-percent surge in net income in the first quarter of 2013 to $1.61 billion, thanks to a significant rise in vehicle sales in the United States. Ford chief executive Bob Shanks remarked that results mark “a very good start to the year.” Ford is targeting to post its fifth consecutive annual profit after posting $30.1 billion in losses from 2006 through 2008.
The carmaker posted a 6-percent drop in pretax operating profit in the first three months of 2013 to $2.15 billion, mainly due to its losses in Europe and South America. Ford, however, saw its pretax operating profit rise in North America by 14 percent to $2.44 billion, beating the quarterly record of $2.33 billion set in the third quarter of 2012.
Ford first began reporting North America results as a separate business unit in 2000. Ford also recorded a small pretax profit in the Asia Pacific Africa region. The carmaker logged a 10-percent hike in revenues in the quarter to $35.8 billion.
The carmaker posted an 11-percent surge in US sales in the first three months of 2012, surpassing the 6-percent growth in the market. This allowed Ford to hike its market share to 16.2 percent. Ford could have posted higher earnings if not for the current sales slump in the recession-hit Europe.
Ford saw its pretax operating loss in Europe widen from $149 million in the first quarter of 2012 to $462 million in the same period this year. The dismal results are attributed to higher costs, including those related to restructuring, and higher pension expenses due to lower interest rates. The loss was also influenced by weak industry sales and unfavorable exchange rates. Ford reiterated its full year 2013 forecast of $2 billion in losses in Europe.