Ford’s 1Q earnings beat expectations, sending shares up amid global restructure
Earnings at Ford Motor Co. in the first quarter exceeded Wall Street estimates, leading to a surge in shares in after-hours trading as the carmaker pushes forward with a revitalized lineup and continues progress on an $11 billion global restructuring effort.
Overall, revenue in the three months through March was $40.3 billion, a year-over-year decline but higher than the $37 billion that Wall Street predicted. Meanwhile, profits fell to $1.2 billion, or 44 cents per share, better than analysts expected.
“With a solid plan in place, we promised 2019 would be a year of action and execution for Ford, and that’s what we delivered in the first quarter,” CEO Jim Hackett said in a statement. “We’re pleased with the progress and the optimism that it brings.”
Sales in North America fell to 756,000 in the quarter, an outcome that analysts expected given the downward trend in sales in the U.S. that is affecting all major domestic carmakers. Ford’s market share in the region, however, rose slightly to 13.6 percent.
Internationally, sales fell in all major markets, including Europe, South America and Africa. In China, where automakers globally are suffering from a slowdown in vehicle sales, Ford sold 107,000 fewer units compared to the first quarter of 2018. Profits, however, improved by $22 million year-over-year. The company still lost $128 million in China in the period.
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Ford’s lineup is getting a makeover in 2019. The company previously introduced the crossover 2020 Escape, its best-selling model outside of the popular F-Series pickup truck. Ford is also launching an update to the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Corsair, as well as an all-new Ford Ranger and Lincoln Aviator.
This week, the Dearborn, Michigan-based firm announced a $500 million investment in Amazon-backed Rivian. Ford will use the electric truckmaker’s propriety platform to produce a new plug-in option, the details of which are still private.
The company also recently shuffled its executive team, replacing departing CFO Bob Shanks with former Snap CFO and Amazon executive Tim Stone.
Meanwhile, leadership at Ford is now largely split between two individuals, Joe Hinrichs and Jim Farley, in what auto experts say is a race to see who will succeed Hackett. Hinrichs is overseeing the carmaker’s traditional operations, while Farley will lead initiatives that will define the future of Ford, including self-driving cars.