For Ford Motor Co., the glass might seem half-full, right now. But despite some good news, in the second quarter, company officials made it clear, during a call with reporters that they continue to worry that it’s actually half-empty and continuing to drain out.
Ford surprised industry observers by announcing a pre-tax operating loss of only $424 million in the second-quarter, a $609 million improvement over the same period a year ago. The automaker’s ability to shed more than $10 billion in debt, combined with the ability to reduce annual cash interest payments by more than $500 million during the quarter helped propel overall profits to $2.3 billion, a $10.8 billion improvement versus year-ago numbers.
These results would be more than a cause for celebration during normal business cycles, but Ford is being very cautious about its success as it tries to determine whether the global automotive downturn has come to an end. The automaker expects full-year total U.S. industry sales to end at between 10.5 to 11 million units, roughly in line with original planning. European market sales are expected to end between 15 and 15.5 million units, due in large part to the success of vehicle scrapping incentive programs.