Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ford Profit Tops Estimates on F-Series’ Boost to North America - The Washington Post

Ford Profit Tops Estimates on F-Series’ Boost to North America - The Washington Post: Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co., the second-largest U.S. automaker, reported fourth-quarter profit that exceeded estimates as demand for its F-Series pickups drove record results for its operations in North America.

Ford reported net income of $1.6 billion, or 40 cents a share. Excluding one-time items, the per-share profit was 31 cents, exceeding the 25-cent average estimate of 19 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The result compared with net income of $13.6 billion, or $3.40 a share, a year earlier, when a tax gain boosted fourth-quarter earnings.

Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally is using Ford’s turnaround in the U.S. to guide efforts to recover in Europe more quickly than competitors including General Motors Co. Rising demand for F-Series trucks in Ford’s home market paced a record $8.34 billion annual pretax profit for the company’s operations in North America, which countered overseas losses. Ford U.S. hourly workers will receive profit-sharing bonuses.

“I’m still bullish on Ford,” said Gary Bradshaw, a fund manager for Dallas-based Hodges Capital Management, which sold about half of its shares before they started to rally in late October. “I’m going to hang on and hope it comes back to $18 a share.” Ford closed at $13.78 yesterday in New York.

Ford reported net income of $5.67 billion for the full year. The profit in 2012 boosts the company’s earnings to $35.2 billion the past four years after losing $30.1 billion from 2006 through 2008.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Daimler, Ford and Nissan sign deal on fuel-cell cars

NABERN, Germany -- Daimler, Ford and Nissan joined forces today to develop a line of affordable fuel-cell cars for sale starting in 2017 in what could be the first major advance for the promising zero-emission technology.
The three automakers, in a statement, said the new alliance sends a clear signal to suppliers, policymakers and the industry to encourage the further development of hydrogen infrastructure worldwide.
"We believe we were never as close to reaching a breakthrough in fuel-cell cars as today thanks to this partnership," Daimler AG research and development chief Thomas Weber said.
The partners are targeting production of at least 100,000 cars, Weber said today at a press conference in Germany. The manufacturers will invest equal amounts in the project to develop fuel-cell stacks and systems, they said in the statement, without giving details.
Toyota Motor Corp. and BMW AG announced a partnership on Jan. 24 to develop fuel-cell systems, in addition to cooperation in other areas including light-weight technologies and a common sports-car platform.
Fuel cells produce electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen, evaporating water as emissions when the car is driven. Compared to electric vehicles powered by batteries, fuel-cell cars have a range close to combustion engine vehicles and fueling time is comparable to filling up a gasoline tank.
Nissan Motor Co. won't take a stake in the existing joint venture Automotive Fuel Cell Corp. between Daimler and Ford Motor Co. to avoid time-consuming contract negotiations, said Herbert Kohler, Daimler's head of future technology.
Joint developments allow the manufacturers to share costs and achieve higher volumes once production starts.
"We can proceed quicker as we can develop around the clock," Weber said. The project will use the partners' existing development centers in Detroit, Tokyo, Vancouver and Daimler's hometown of Stuttgart, Germany.
Each partner will market its own branded vehicles, probably starting with front-wheel-drive models, Weber said.
"This powertrain is the start of a modular strategy," he said. "It has to be adaptable into several models."
The partnership is open to other manufacturers, including Nissan's French global alliance partner, Renault SA, Weber said.
Daimler is skipping an intermediate step of fuel-cell technology development that was originally planned for 2014 with smaller numbers of cars, Weber said. Daimler currently has a test fleet of about 200 fuel-cell cars.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20130128/OEM05/130129909#ixzz2JI9EJt00

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ford's 2010 net is best in a decade; Q4 drops on actions to cut debt

Ford's 2010 net is best in a decade; Q4 drops on actions to cut debt

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. today posted a $6.56 billion profit for 2010, its highest annual net income in more than a decade, fueled by improved products and pricing.But its fourth-quarter profit plunged, due to actions to pay down debt that Ford took on before the financial crisis hit.

The automaker also confronted rising costs for launching new vehicles and suffered an unexpected loss in Europe.

“We're in transition mode now,” Ford CFO Lewis Booth said during a media briefing today, predicting that 2011 will be more profitable than 2010. “We've fixed the fundamentals of the business. I think the thing that pleases us immensely is the improvement in the balance sheet.”

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110128/OEM01/110129842/1424#ixzz1CLOXAGmI

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ford 'money machine' may report most profitable year since 2000

Ford 'money machine' may report most profitable year since 2000

DETROIT (Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co. may report its most profitable year since 2000 tomorrow, boosted by new models and a better reputation. The annual profit would be the second straight for CEO Alan Mulally, who has improved quality and expanded the model lineup.

Ford, according to an analyst survey conducted by Thomson Reuters, is expected to generate a fourth-quarter pretax profit of about 48 cents a share on revenue of $30.57 billion. On that basis, the company would post profits of about $1.7 billion for the fourth quarter and $8 billion for all of 2010.

Ford posted $6.37 billion in net income during the first nine months of the year -- the most since 1998 and more than any other automaker. In 2009, Ford posted annual net income of $2.72 billion on revenue of $118.31 billion.

“Ford is building better cars, they're more fuel-efficient and they've really focused on quality since Alan Mulally came in,” said Gary Bradshaw, a fund manager at Dallas-based Hodges Capital Management, which owns 100,000 Ford common shares and 100,000 preferred shares. “He's just making this company a money machine.”

The estimates for quarterly and 2010 profit exclude items such as a $960 million charge Ford planned to take in the fourth quarter because of a plan to pay investors in its convertible debt to swap their notes for shares. Profit excluding items was 9 cents a share in 2009.

Ford shares rose 68 percent in 2010 and have gained 9.4 percent this year on the New York Stock Exchange. Ford, battered by $30 billion in losses over three years, fell to a close of $1.26 on Nov. 19, 2008, as rising fuel prices and the financial crisis led to a collapse in auto sales. The shares rose 48 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $18.37 yesterday.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110127/OEM01/110129870/1254#ixzz1CFWnlSrG

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ford, Honda lead latest J.D. Power owner loyalty survey — Autoblog

Ford (F) and Honda (HMC) owners, more than those of any others, are opting to get another vehicle of the same brand.

Both brands topped J.D. Power's latest Customer Retention Study, which was based on 123,601 responses from new-car buyers. In 81,350 of those cases, the car being replaced had also been purchased new by that owner.

Sixty-two percent of Ford and Honda owners remained with those brands, while Kia (KIMTF.PK) was the most improved overall in retention. According to the survey, this year 58 percent purchased another Kia but last year, just 37 percent were repeat buyers of the brand. Mercedes-Benz (DAI) fell by five points, to 59 percent.

The Ford F-Series pickup, Ford Edge crossover, and Ford Fusion sedan drive strong customer retention for Ford, says Power, while the Accord, CR-V, and Pilot are among the strongest Honda models with strong retention.

Ford owners are even more likely than Honda owners to perceive their vehicle as fun to drive or as having good styling, which J.D. Power says has become increasingly important.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Since it's Election Day....Why is It Important to Vote?

Elections seldom provide perfect choices between good and evil. The first step toward informed voting lies in determining your own personal preferences as the to public problems you are most concerned with and the solutions you prefer. What solutions to current societal problems do you prefer? Should we be spending more money on schools or for national defense? Would it be better if government limited pornography or hate speech on the Internet, or is one's right to free expression more important? Is abortion a mortal sin or a right some women might choose in desperate situations? There are not "right" answers to these questions on which everyone agrees, so the informed voter looks for candidates who share their preferences on the issues of most importance to them. Above and beyond shared preferences, informed voters look at the personal characteristics of candidates to help determine how they will perform in office. We usually prefer candidates who are hard working, honest, moral and skillful since we are entrusting them with decisions that affect our futures.

Sorting out the information about candidates from their speeches, campaign ads, media coverage and Web sites is one of the real challenges to citizens in a democracy. Many voters use short cut aids, such as relying on a candidate's political party label. Over the years, political parties have taken relatively consistent packages of policy stands (see below). Candidates for more important offices have usually served in previous positions, making it possible to assess their policy preferences and capabilities. A number of nonpartisan Web sites (see below) provide useful information for voters. Talking with friends and relatives about politics helps define one's own outlooks and understand the available options.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Microsoft shows it's still keen on cars

Microsoft Corp. is angling for more automotive customers with a new version of Windows for the car, a move seen as reaffirming its commitment to the auto industry.

Last week the technology giant released Windows Embedded Automotive 7, which it says is about three generations ahead of the Microsoft software found in the original 2007 version of Ford Motor Co.'s Sync entertainment and information service.

The company says the latest software provides improved speech recognition; more options for sending text messages by voice; and more features to help car engineers get new technologies to market faster. "All that's left for the carmaker, or their supplier, is the work of adapting it for a particular vehicle or a particular device in the vehicle," Walter Sullivan, a senior program manager for Microsoft, told Automotive News.

Also included is a version of Microsoft Silverlight for creating richer graphics. Silverlight, a competitor of Adobe System Inc.'s Flash software, is used to add animation and multimedia functions to Web sites. Sullivan said Microsoft's aim is to speed up the pace of automotive technology introductions.

"Automotive systems traditionally take quite a while to develop -- anywhere from 18 months to three years," he said. "The complexity of the systems is substantial, and the amount of testing ... that they go through with these systems requires a significant engineering cycle."

Slightly older versions of Microsoft's software are in Ford's Sync, Kia Motors Corp.'s Uvo voice-activated technology and in a similar system for Fiat S.p.A. called Blue&Me. Nissan also uses Windows in the touch screen "information hub" on the Leaf electric sedan.

"Microsoft continues to invest in an automotive-specific platform," said Gartner Inc. analyst Thilo Koslowski. "There was some concern over the last probably six months that the company was somewhat de-emphasizing the automotive commitment because there has been some personnel change and also some organizational changes."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

SEMA: Ford's Mustangs will run wild

Ford will fill its stable with 11 Mustangs at this year's SEMA show in Las Vegas.

The Ford stand will include nine customized 2011 Mustangs along with the 2012 Mustang Boss 302 and the 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca. The 2012 Mustang Boss 302 and Boss 302 Laguna Seca are both powered by a 440-hp, 5.0-liter V8 rated at 380 lb-ft of torque. The Laguna Seca is a stripped-down, reinforced version of the Boss 302 with improved handling. The rear seats have been replaced by an X-bar support to stiffen the chassis. Ford also upgraded the springs and the rear stabilizer bar.

Other Mustangs at SEMA include:

2011 Ford Mustang GT by Ford Vehicle Personalization: This Mustang GT was designed using accessories made by Ford. The exterior includes a pedestal spoiler, side scoops and a billet grille. The Mustang GT rides on 18-inch wheels.
The white-and-black interior includes inserts that resemble carbon fiber and coral accents on the steering wheel, gauge cluster and shifter knob. Ford also included coral accent lights and white material to highlight the seats, door inserts and steering wheel.

2011 Ford Mustang by Team Baurtwell: Funkmaster Flex and Team Baurtwell designed a Mustang that includes smoked taillights, a 3dCarbon body kit and NC Forged three-piece billet wheels.
The chassis includes a Steeda lowering kit, sway bars and springs. Team Baurtwell also installed Baer brakes.

2011 Ford Mustang by MRT: The MRT-designed Mustang GT has carbon effects in the engine compartment and interior. It also has an upgraded performance-handling package, Baer brakes and an MRT stainless-steel exhaust.

2011 Ford Mustang by Creations n' Chrome: Creations n' Chrome teamed up with the American Cancer Society to design a Mustang GT and raise awareness for breast cancer. The pink chrome GT includes a Vortech supercharger, HRE performance wheels, Wilwood brakes and 3dCarbon styling kit.

2011 Ford Mustang by Muscle Mustangs and Fast Fords: The Muscle Mustangs and Fast Fords-customized Mustang includes a Ford Racing Performance Parts supercharger kit and Kooks Custom headers exhaust system. It also has a custom paint job, Roush fascia, Cervini's Auto Designs hood and brakes, seats and suspension by American Muscle parts.

2011 Ford Mustang by Mobsteel: The V6 Mustang by Mobsteel includes an STS Turbo patented remote-mount turbo system, Air Runner suspension and Magnaflow cat-back exhaust. It also has 15-inch Baer brakes, Savini forged wheels and Pirelli tires.

2011 Ford Mustang by Raceskinz: The interior of the Raceskinz-designed Mustang includes Raceskinz bucket seats and carbon-fiber accessories throughout. Performance upgrades include a ProCharger intercooled supercharger, Magnaflow cat-back exhaust and Baer brakes.

2011 Ford Mustang by Street Scene Equipment: The Mustang customized by Street Scene Equipment includes a Street Scene chin spoiler, grille and rear wing. The car rides on 20-inch Mint wheels. The interior includes Katzkin leather and a Polk audio system.

2011 Ford Mustang by Tjin Edition: The exterior of the Tjin Edition Mustang GT includes a custom DuPont paint job, a Webasto sunroof, a Unique Fabrication metal wing, Ignited LED headlights and StreetGlow lighting. It also has an Air Lift air suspension kit, an Eibach antiroll kit and trailer arms.Read more:


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ford races toward best year since '98

Mulally: Next phase is growing business

With one more profitable quarter under its belt, 2010 is increasingly looking like Ford's big comeback year. The Dearborn automaker, which launched its turnaround plan in 2006, posted a $1.7-billion third-quarter profit Tuesday and said it is hiring workers and aggressively paying down its debt.

"We are moving from fixing the fundamentals of our business and weathering the downturn to growing the business," Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally said Tuesday.

Ford's year-to-date profit now stands at $6.4 billion -- putting Ford on track for its biggest annual profit since 1998. "The company is better off than it was then," said Shelly Lombard, a credit analyst with Gimme Credit. "It can make money even with industry volume that's much lower ... and with a sales mix that is much less reliant on trucks."

That's especially true in Ford's long-troubled North American division, which has now posted its fifth consecutive profit. U.S. consumers have been willing to pay more for Ford cars because of their exclusive technology and improved quality, now on par with top Asian rivals.

Last year, Ford eked out a small profit of $2.7 billion, which resulted in bonuses for all Ford workers. With this year's profit expected to top $7 billion, they are likely to get annual bonuses next year, which would give metro Detroit's economy a boost.

Ford makes big dents in debt

Ford's ability to pay off big chunks of its debt has the company well on its way toward eliminating the biggest remaining challenge to its turnaround that it can control.

On Tuesday, the Dearborn automaker said it plans to eliminate its remaining debt to a UAW retiree health care trust with a $3.6-billion cash payment Friday. It also said it used $2 billion in cash in September to pay off some of its bank debt.

Honda, Toyota lead reliability survey; Ford tops domestics

DETROIT -- Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. dominate the list of most reliable 2011 models based on an annual survey by Consumer Reports magazine, with Ford Motor Co. tops among domestic automakers and General Motors Co. posting notable gains.

Chrysler and many European automakers lag the overall industry as many of their models scored below average in reliability, the magazine said.    Read more