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by Tim Beissmann

Ford Motor Company recorded a $US6.6 billion profit in 2010 and reduced its total debt by more than $US14 billion.

The financial result was Ford’s best in more than a decade. The brand now has $US20.5 billion in gross cash on hand and a $US19.1 billion debt.

Ford’s debt, which it took on board before the global financial crisis in an attempt to protect itself fiscally, decreased 43 percent in 2010, down from $US33.6 billion to $US19.1 billion.

Fourth quarter results were down $US696 million from 2009 to $US190 million in 2010, although that included a $US960 million debt repayment which helped reduce the company’s automotive debt by $US1.9 billion.

Ford Motor Co President and CEO, Alan Mulally, said the results were beyond Ford’s estimates and would be followed by continued growth in 2011.

“Our 2010 results exceeded our expectations, accelerating our transition from fixing the business fundamentals to delivering profitable growth for all,” Mr Mulally said.

“We are investing in an unprecedented amount of products, technology and growth in all regions of the world.

“We expect continued improvement in 2011, driven primarily by our growing product strength, a gradually strengthening global economy and an unrelenting focus on improving the competitiveness of all of our operations.”

In 2010, Ford launched 24 new or significantly redesigned vehicles around the world and announced more than $US9 billion in global investments, including $US4.5 billion in North and South America, $US2.9 billion in Europe and $US1.7 billion in Asia Pacific Africa.

It announced a number of future investment programs, including around $US2.1 billion for plants in Michigan, Louisville and Turkey, leading directly to the addition of more than 3000 employees to its ranks.

Ford North America’s full year pre-tax profit increased from a loss of $US639 million in 2009 to $US5.4 billion in 2010.

In Europe, despite sales declining 23 percent in the fourth quarter, full year pre-tax operating profit increased from a $US144 million loss to a $US182 million gain, while Ford Asia Pacific Africa also went from $US86 million in the red to $US189 million in the black.

Ford says 2011 milestones will include the debut of the Focus Electric in North America later in the year, as well as the launch of the Australian-engineered Ranger in Asia Pacific Africa and Europe and the expansion of the EcoBoost engine family across the global market.




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