Ford May Post Third-Quarter Profit Next Week

October 26, 2009

It's no secret that Ford Motor Company has withstood the current financial storm far better than Chrysler and General Motors. Between its refreshed reputation as a manufacturer of quality vehicles and the fact that Ford was the only Detroit automaker to dodge both bankruptcy and bailout dough, the company has emerged from the economic downturn (if we're truly out of it) stronger and more respected by the public than before. In fact, some analysts are predicting that Ford will announce a break-even or slightly profitable third quarter when it reveals earnings for the period next Monday.

Much of Ford's good fortune is thanks to the company's growing market share. CNW Marketing Research has indicated that Ford gained upwards of five percentage points of U.S. market share over the third quarter of 2009, compared with the same quarter in 2008.

Ford is also benefiting from better prices on its new and used vehicles. A person familiar with Kelly Blue Book rankings has said that two Ford vehicles will appear on the book's forthcoming list of 2010 vehicles projected to retain the most retail value. (NB: no Ford vehicle appeared on the 2009 list.)

A profit or break-even in the third quarter would be in keeping with Ford's surprising Q2 numbers -- which, while representing a loss of $424 million, showed a recovery trend for the company. (Ford's loss a year earlier, in the second quarter of 2008, was $1.03 billion.)

Even with the potential for profit in Q3, Ford hasn't revised its earnings projections, or even issued any sort of formal statement about the matter. To its credit, Ford is maintaining the party line that profits won't be seen until 2011 or later. That sort of fiscal conservatism is likely what's kept Ford out of the deep, deep red that's plagued the books of Chrysler and GM. And who knows? It might even keep Ford ahead of the pack as the public begins to forget about the bankruptcy/bailout and Ford loses that branding advantage.

[WSJ]

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