Ford sales ease off the gas amid product switch

 
Chris Papadopoullos
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The Ford F-150 is still rolling out
FORD saw a fall in profits for the first three months of the year as its sales in North America were dampened by a product switchover.

Globally, the firm sold 1.57m vehicles, down 21,000 compared with a year earlier, according to its financial results released yesterday.

Fewer vehicle sales were registered in North America – it’s biggest market – due to the ongoing launches of the F-150 pickup truck and the Ford Edge SUV. There were 678,000 sales in North America - a fall of 39,000.

Ford chief executive Mark Fields remained upbeat. He said it “was a good start to a year in which our results will grow progressively stronger as the new products we have been launching start to pay off. We are re-confirming that 2015 will be a breakthrough year for Ford”. The second largest US car producer maintained its full-year forecast of pre-tax profit between $8.5bn (£5.5bn) and $9.5bn.

Ford’s overall net income for the first three months of the year fell seven per cent to $924m, or 23 cents a share, from $989m, or 24 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue fell 5.6 per cent to $33.9bn.

The company also benefitted from a narrowing of losses in South America and Europe, but conditions are expected to stay tough.

“The external environment in South America has deteriorated compared to where we were just a few months ago,” Ford Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks told reporters.

Ford made a pre-tax loss of $189m in South America, a $321m improvement on the first three months of 2014. Pre-tax losses in Europe amounted to £185m, a $9m improvement.