DEARBORN, Mich. – Ford Motor Co. is finally becoming the well-rounded company it aspires to be.
Almost bankrupt last decade because it relied too heavily on selling big trucks and SUVs in North America, the second-largest U.S. automaker is now making small and midsize cars at a profit and selling them across the globe.
Fords Asian operations earned a record quarterly profit of $117 million in the three months ended June 30, and 20 percent of Fords sales came from the region. Thats up from 11 percent five years ago. Sales also grew in South America, where second-quarter profit jumped to $151 million from $5 million a year ago.
Ford even narrowed its losses in recession-weary Europe.
I call it a green shoot. Were at the beginning of the phase where youll start to see – over the next several years – the operations outside of North America take on a lot more significance, Fords Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks said Wednesday at the companys Dearborn headquarters. Youre starting to see whats possible.
North America still contributed the bulk of Fords net income, which grew 18.5 percent to $1.23 billion in the April-June period.
But Shanks said the rest of Fords global regions broke even for the first time in two years, clawing their way back from a $600 million loss in the first quarter.
Fords stock rose 2.5 percent to close at $17.37 Wednesday, its highest close since Jan. 27, 2011.
The companys results were propelled by a $2.3 billion profit in North America, a second-quarter record for that region. Pickup truck sales are booming in the U.S., where construction companies and other businesses are rapidly replacing the fleets they held onto during the recession.
Sales of Fords F-Series pickup – which has long been the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. – jumped 26 percent in the second quarter, or more than three times the average industry increase.
Fords total U.S. sales rose 15 percent during the quarter, according to Kelley Blue Book.
Bill Selesky, an analyst with Argus Research in New York, said Ford is attracting new buyers worldwide with the strongest lineup its ever had.
In the U.S., Ford set a quarterly record for hybrid sales thanks to its new C-Max, and the company has said that more than 60 percent of its U.S. hybrid buyers are trading in other brands.