The automotive landscape has been changing so rapidly it’s sometimes hard to keep up. GM and Chrysler had to be saved by the federal government, while Ford was able to avoid that fate. Their troubles have probably helped Ford, but Ford has also been on a tear with impressive new models like the Ford Fusion, and many more new models are in the pipeline.
Auto analysts expected Ford to show some improvement, but the announced numbers were a pleasant surprise for many.
Ford Motor Co. posted a surprise profit of $2.3 billion for the second quarter — a sharp contrast to the whopping $8.7 billion loss it reported for the same period a year ago — but the profit was largely due to one-time gains related to its debt reduction moves.
Even with those special items removed, the Dearborn automaker surprised Wall Street with a pre-tax operating loss of $424 million for the second quarter of 2009, excluding special items — a $609 million improvement compared with the second quarter of 2008.
After taxes and excluding special items, Ford posted an operating loss of $638 million in the second quarter, or 21 cents per share, compared with a loss of $1.4 billion, 63 cents per share a year ago. That also was a marked improvement over the $1.4 billion loss — $1.8 billion after taxes and excluding special items — that Ford reported for the first three months of the year, when it lost 75 cents per share.
Wall Street had been anticipating a loss of 52 cents per share, after taxes and excluding special items, according to a survey of a dozen analysts by Thomson Reuters prior to today’s announcement.
“While the business environment remained extremely challenging around the world, we made significant progress on our transformation plan,” said CEO Alan Mulally. “Our underlying business is growing progressively stronger as we introduce great new products that customers want and value, while continuing to aggressively restructure our business and strengthen our balance sheet.”
It looks like Alan Mulally’s turnaround efforts are on track.