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Ford 2Q shines around globe

North America, Asia lead resurgence; automaker beats Wall Street forecasts

By Dee-Ann Durbin
AP Auto Writer

DEARBORN, Mich. Ford Motor Co. is finally becoming the well-rounded company it aspires to be.

Almost bankrupt last decade because it relied too heavily on selling big trucks and SUVs in North America, the second-largest U.S. automaker is now making small and midsize cars at a profit and selling them across the globe.

Ford’s Asian operations earned a record quarterly profit of $117 million in the three months ended June 30, and 20 percent of Ford’s sales came from the region. That’s up from 11 percent five years ago. Sales also grew in South America, where second-quarter profit jumped to $151 million from $5 million a year ago. Ford even narrowed its losses in recession-weary Europe.

“I call it a green shoot. We’re at the beginning of the phase where you’ll start to see – over the next several years – the operations outside of North America take on a lot more significance,” Ford’s Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks told media Wednesday at the company’s Dearborn, Mich., headquarters. “You’re starting to see what’s possible.”

North America still contributed the bulk of Ford’s net income, which grew 18.5 percent to $1.23 billion in the April-June period. But Shanks noted that the rest of Ford’s global regions broke even for the first time in two years, clawing their way back from a $600 million loss in the first quarter.

Ford handily beat Wall Street’s earnings and revenue forecasts and raised its full-year profit guidance. The company now expects full-year pretax profit to be equal to or better than the $8 billion it reported a year ago. Previously, the company had expected to match that profit. Ford also expects sales in the U.S., Europe and China to be at the upper end of its previous forecasts.

Ford’s shares had risen 2.5 percent to $17.37 at the close of trading Wednesday. Earlier, they rose to $17.67, the highest intraday price since Jan. 28, 2011.

The company’s results were propelled by a $2.3 billion profit in North America, a second-quarter record for that region. Pickup truck sales are booming in the U.S., where construction companies and other businesses are rapidly replacing the fleets they held onto during the recession. Sales of Ford’s F-Series pickup – which has long been the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. – jumped 26 percent in the second quarter, or more than three times the average industry increase.

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