Ford Motor Company has been busy of late. The company has been strengthening its financial capabilities and reach, implementing a companywide cost and labor reduction plan, and cleaning up its problems with its European operations. Lastly, company management has been busy making money, albeit with a worrisome decline of auto sales.The company reported third-quarter earnings which exceeded analysts’ projections. Problematic Europe loomed large with losses while North America profits did well.A pretax profit of $2.3 billion on sales of $19.5 billion was reported; this deriving from leaner operations, plant closings and other reductions. High on the worry list is the trend of the company occupying a 15.3% share of the U.S. light-vehicle market in the first nine months of the year, according to industry market watcher Ward’s, this comparing to 16.6% a year earlier. Another note of concern is a quality one. Consumer Reports’ annual reliability survey recently released ranking Ford 27th out of 28 brands; a tough hole to dig out of.
Amidst its operations accomplishments, the company has made smart decisions in the past that have played out well long term. Ford was one of the only auto firms in 2006 that did not take government TARP financing during the worst of the financial crisis and instead, leveraged its own assets to raise funds that ensured its long term presence. After a string of positive financial quarters, the company is now sound financially ($17 billion cash on hand at year-end 2011 and Market Cap of over 42 billion) and in a good position to deal with its primary problem; getting people to purchase it automobiles and trucks. In the month of October, Ford reported only a minor uptick of nearly 1% to 168,456 vehicles for the month with passenger car sales growing faster while sales of pickup trucks declined slightly.
The month of October proved positive for most automakers, even with the end of the month Hurricane Sandy damping sales. Chrysler Group reported sales in the U.S. rose 10% to 126,185 vehicles compared to the same period a year earlier, proving to be the company’s best sales total since 2007. General Motors reported a 5% uptick to 195,764 vehicles, its best since 2007. Toyoto said it sales rose 16% to 155,242 vehicles.Pages: