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Ford U.S. Cars Loss: $1.2 Billion

The North American auto operations continue to bleed red ink.
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Ford (F) - Get Free Report posted a third-quarter loss and cast further doubt on its already lowered full-year guidance.

The Dearborn, Mich., automaker lost $291 million, or 16 cents a share, from continuing operations in the quarter ended Sept. 30. That reverses the year-ago continuing operations profit of $459 million, or 24 cents a share. Revenue rose to $34.7 billion from $32.8 billion a year earlier.

Excluding special items, Ford's latest-quarter loss was $191 million, or a dime a share, a penny wider than the Thomson First Call analyst consensus estimate. The company also said it expects full-year earnings to be at the low end of the current guidance range of $1 to $1.25 a share from continuing operations, excluding special items.

"As our results indicate, we face many challenges in this competitive and difficult environment," said CEO Bill Ford. "We have demonstrated throughout the year that we will continue to take the actions necessary to return our core business to sustainable profitability. We understand the issues, our priorities, and have the right team in place to get the job done."

Pretax worldwide automotive losses in the third quarter were $1.3 billion, compared with a loss of $609 million during the same period a year ago. Total cash, including automotive cash, marketable securities, loaned securities and short-term Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) assets on Sept. 30, 2005 was $19.6 billion, down from $21.8 billion at the end of the second quarter.

For the third quarter, the Americas reported a pretax loss of $1.1 billion, against a $422 million pretax loss in the same period a year ago.In the third quarter, Ford's North American automotive operations reported a pretax loss of $1.2 billion vs. a $481 million pretax loss a year ago. Lower dealer inventories, unfavorable vehicle mix, lower net pricing and higher warranty and material costs contributed to the deterioration.

Ford Motor Credit Company reported net income of $577 million in the third quarter of 2005, down $157 million from a year earlier. On a pretax basis from continuing operations, Ford Motor Credit earned $901 million in the third quarter, compared with $1.1 billion in the previous year. The decrease in earnings primarily reflected higher borrowing costs and the impact of lower receivable levels, partially offset by improved credit loss performance.

"We expect the fourth quarter to be another extremely competitive period," Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Don Leclair said. "Our new products put us in an excellent position to compete in the marketplace. We will continue the turnaround in our operations in Europe, the investment in growth in Asia, and to address our issues in North America."