NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Ford Motor (F) - Get Report rolled out an earnings miss on Tuesday, but pointed to expectations of a strong second half as its F-150 trucks and Edge SUVs resume full production later this year.
The American carmaker is currently in a transition where it is retooling its popular F-150 trucks with lighter aluminum bodies that are designed to be more fuel efficient, and redesigning its Edge SUVs. Ford had previously scaled back production on these models as it retooled the plants. But in an interview with TheStreet.com, Ford CFO Bob Shanks noted the automaker is now coming out of its launch stage for these models and expects to have a stronger second half in North America.
Sales of the F-150 trucks dropped by 40% in the first quarter compared to a year ago, to roughly 60,000 vehicles, while the Edge SUV was down a little over 50% to approximately 15,000 vehicles. The F-Series vehicles, which includes the F-150 and larger F-250 trucks, represent 90% of Ford's global automotive profit, according to a Bloombergreport.
"If you normalize the production of these two vehicle lines, and took out the launch constraints, we would have earned about $1 billion more in profitability in North America," Shanks said. "The North American operating margins that came in at 6.7% would have easily exceeded 10%."
Ford, according to a Reuters report, increased its North American operating margin forecast to 8.5% to 9.5% from its previous guidance of 8% to 9%. Bernie McGinn, CEO of McGinn Investment Management, told Bloomberg, "Ford took a big risk to do the F-150 in aluminum, but they're confident with what they've got. We'll see over the next year how that works out for sure."
For the quarter, Ford reported net profit of 23 cents a share on revenue of $31.8 billion. Ford missed analysts' earnings and revenue expectations of 26 cents a share on revenue of $33.9 billion.
Shanks, however, contended that Ford met its internal projections and also the First Call pre-tax profitability. He noted Wall Street's earnings expectations were based on a lower tax rate than what Ford received. And its revenue miss was the result of Wall Street not factoring in a strong U.S. dollar.
The strong dollar affected Ford's international operations, Shanks said, noting the carmaker was down about $2 billion in revenue and roughly 70% of it was related to the strong dollar.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.