Ford Motor (F) reported Tuesday it earned $1.7 billion in the third quarter on strong demand for its revamped line of products, despite a lackluster economy. Continued growth at its Ford Credit finance unit also helped push profits higher.
On a per-share basis, Ford said it earned 43 cents a share, outstripping analyst estimates of 37 cents a share, as compiled by Zacks.com. Excluding special items, Ford said it earned a pretax operating profit of $2.1 billion, or 48 cents a share, an improvement of $1.1 billion from a year ago. The company has posted pretax operating profits for five consecutive quarters, it said.
Revenue for the quarter was $29 billion, a decline of $1.3 billion from the same period a year ago, Ford said. Excluding 2009 revenue from its sold-off Volvo unit, Ford's revenue in the third quarter was up $1.7 billion compared with the same period a year ago.
"This was another strong quarter and we continue to gain momentum with our One Ford plan," said Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally in a statement. "Delivering world class products and aggressively restructuring our business has enabled us to profitably grow even at low industry volumes in key regions.
Ford said it is on track to gain full-year market share in the U.S. for the second consecutive year, marking the first time since 1993 that Ford has achieved back-to-back annual increases.
The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker also said it reduced its indebtedness during the quarter, including paying down its revolving credit line by $2 billion and prepaying the $3.6 billion of debt to the VEBA retiree health care trust.
The company said it finished the quarter with $23.8 billion in cash, an increase of $1.9 billion since the second quarter. Including its available credit lines, Ford said, its total liquidity was $29.4 billion at the end of September.
On Monday, Ford said it would create as many as 1,200 engineering and manufacturing jobs by spending $850 million to upgrade at least four Michigan plants through 2013.