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Ford reports a $2.1bn profit

City A.M. Reporter
FORD posted a stronger-than-expected $2.1bn (£1.38bn) quarterly profit and said it would be “solidly profitable” in 2010, a year ahead of schedule, driven by strong US sales and market share gains.

Ford raised its North American production plan for the current quarter as well as the 2010 outlook for its Ford Motor Credit financing arm.

Chief executive Alan Mulally said the results were “further evidence” that the automaker’s turnaround was working.

“The basic engine that drives our business results – products, market share, revenue, and cost structure – is performing stronger each quarter," Mulally told analysts.

The first-quarter results included operating profits in all regions, and included the Swedish brand Volvo, which Ford has agreed to sell to China’s Geely.

Ford has benefited from improved public perception, in part because of the government bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler, and Toyota’s massive US vehicle recalls and sales halt in the first quarter.

However, Ford’s edge may begin to fade with Toyota’s record incentives to boost US sales, GM’s repayment of government loans and Chrysler’s first-quarter operating profit.

Ford borrowed more than $23bn to fund its turnaround, allowing it to avoid bankruptcy, but leaving it with far more debt than its rivals.