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Ford surges ahead, posts $2.6B profit

Tim Tucker, chief executive of Ford Japan, poses Friday in Tokyo with the Kuga sport utility vehicle, one of five models Ford plans to introduce in Japan through 2012. Ford is investing in Asia with hopes of dramatically boosting sales in Japan.

Associated Press

Tim Tucker, chief executive of Ford Japan, poses Friday in Tokyo with the Kuga sport utility vehicle, one of five models Ford plans to introduce in Japan through 2012. Ford is investing in Asia with hopes of dramatically boosting sales in Japan.

DEARBORN, Mich. — Four years ago, Ford mortgaged everything down to the blue oval logo to save itself. Now, even as Americans remain skittish about the economy, the U.S. automaker is reaping big rewards and stealing business from stumbling rivals.

Ford said Friday that it made $2.6 billion from April through June, its fifth straight quarterly profit. The company, which reported record losses last year, now predicts it will end 2011 with more cash than debt. Ford's second-quarter revenue rose 14 percent to $31.3 billion.

With its two longtime Detroit rivals still finding their way after spending time in bankruptcy last year, Ford, which never took government bailout money, extended its success story.

President and CEO Alan Mulally said the company is ahead of where he thought it would be in its turnaround. It now sells the most popular pickup truck in the U.S., the F-Series, and the most popular crossover SUV, the Escape.

"Our performance this year gives us great confidence going forward," he said.

In the past year, Ford has gained a bigger share of the American market, the equivalent of about 154,000 cars and trucks. Rivals Toyota, General Motors and Chrysler have all lost ground.

Toyota stumbled this year because of safety-related recalls. GM's and Chrysler's precarious financial positions had some people shying away from their cars for fear they would not be able to find service.

Michael Robinet, an analyst for the consulting firm IHS Automotive, credits Mulally with motivating the work force. But he said the biggest reason for Ford's success is a complete overhaul of its factory and sales strategies.

"It's not about the moving metal anymore. It's about moving the metal profitably," Robinet said.

High quality rankings from outside groups like Consumer Reports have also helped Ford command higher prices. The average selling price of a Ford last quarter was about $2,000 higher than a year earlier, according to Edmunds.com.

Ford surges ahead, posts $2.6B profit 07/23/10 [Last modified: Friday, July 23, 2010 8:40pm]
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