Ford Reports $1.8 Billion Profit in Quarter
Ford Motor reported a solid profit in the first quarter, although the automaker indicated that its turnaround was not complete and that it had a ways to go before it starts making money on electric vehicles.
On Tuesday, the company said it made $1.8 billion in profit in the first three months of 2023 as a result of a substantial increase in revenue and in the number of vehicles it sold around the world, the company said Tuesday.
The positive result is a recovery from the same period a year ago, when the automaker lost $3.1 billion as the value of its stake in the electric-vehicle maker Rivian declined.
In 2022, Ford was slowed by shortages of computer chips and other key parts that prevented it from making as many vehicles as it had expected.
“When you look at the core and the quarter, it’s solid,” the company’s chief executive, Jim Farley, said in a conference call with analysts. “We saw growth across all our key metrics. Our balance sheet is strong.”
For the first quarter, the company reported revenue of $41.5 billion, up 20 percent from $34.5 billion in the year-earlier period. Globally, Ford sold 1.1 million cars and trucks in the first quarter, compared with 966,000 in the first three months of 2022.
Ford, which is trying to streamline its operations and cut costs, reiterated a forecast of $9 billion to $11 billion in profit for the full year before interest and taxes.
For the first time, Ford reported separate results for its electric vehicle division. The E.V. business lost $700 million before interest and taxes in the first quarter, while a unit making traditional gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles doubled its profit to $2.6 billion.
The E.V. business is not yet producing vehicles in sufficient volumes to generate profits. It was especially slowed in the first quarter, when the company halted production of the F-150 Lightning pickup to fix a battery defect and stopped making the Mustang Mach-E, a sport-utility vehicle, to modify its plant to roughly double output.
The production disruptions caused Ford’s sales of the Mach-E to fall about 20 percent, to just under 5,400 vehicles. Sales of the F-150 Lightning totaled almost 4,300 trucks. That was higher than a low figure from a year ago, when the truck was just going into production, but fewer than Ford had been hoping for.
Separately on Tuesday, Ford said it was lowering prices of most versions of the Mach-E by $3,000 to $4,000. The vehicle, introduced two years ago, now competes with similar electric S.U.V.s from Hyundai, Volkswagen, Nissan, Tesla and other manufacturers.
“It’s a competitive segment,” Mr. Farley said.
Mr. Farley said that over the course of this year, Ford would narrow its losses on those two vehicles and the E-Transit, a delivery van. He also predicted that those three models would be profitable before interest and taxes by the end of 2024.
A third line of business, Ford Pro, which produces commercial trucks and services for fleet operators, nearly tripled its earnings before interest and taxes to $1.4 billion.
In the past, Ford broke out its operations geographically. The new form of reporting is intended to show how fast the company’s E.V. business is growing, in hopes of attracting investors.
Ford plans to give investors a closer look at its strategy and operations in a two-day conference this month.
The earnings announcement came after the markets closed. Ford shares were down about 2 percent in extended trading.