Ford Posts Q2 Profit, Surprises Investors

Ford Motor Co. surprised investors Thursday with a strong gain in second-quarter results, reflecting job cuts, slimmer losses in North America and firm sales overseas.

The automaker posted net income of $750 million in the second quarter, or 31 cents a share — besting analysts' expectations of a loss of 35 cents.

That compares with a net loss of $317 million, or 17 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

Ford attributed this year's quarterly performance to significant year-over-year improvement in all of its automotive operations, and to cost cuts due to restructuring and positive special items that totaled $443 million, which includes a $206 million gain related to sale of its Aston Martin unit.

Ford has shed 27,000 hourly and about 10,000 salaried jobs since September 2006 through early retirement and buyout offers as it tries to shrink itself to match lower demand for its cars and trucks.

Revenue rose to $44.2 billion from $41.9 billion last year.

The revenue increase was attributed, in part, to currency exchange and pricing improvements, partially offset by lower volume, the company said in a statement.

Vehicle wholesales were 1.77 million vs. 1.81 million a year ago.

Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford also confirmed that it is seeking a buyer for its prestigious Jaguar and Land Rover divisions.

"The company also is conducting a strategic review of Volvo that likely will conclude prior to year-end," the company said in a press release.

Still, CEO and President Alan Mulally said investors should not think that the automaker has turned the corner to consistent profitability.

"These accomplishments are something to be proud of, but we are not ready to declare victory," Mulally said, predicting substantial losses in the third and fourth quarters.

Despite the quarterly earnings, the company said it still doesn't expect to post an annual profit until 2009 — although it is burning cash at a slower rate than the slightly less than $17 billion through 2009 that the company had predicted.

From NPR and Associated Press reports

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