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The Sky Isn’t Falling, Says GM President

Batey counters concerns raised by Ford CFO that auto sales have peaked.

by on Aug.02, 2016

GM North America Pres. Alan Batey introduces the 2017 Chevy Cruze Hatchback at the NAIAS.

It’s been a great ride for the U.S. auto industry. After crashing into the worst recession in decades, it rebounded to record sales of 17.5 million vehicles last year and, until recently, seemed poised to top that number again in 2016.

But there’s been a growing chorus of concern in recent weeks, industry insiders like Ford Motor Co. Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks warning that the ride is over, and that U.S. car sales are about to start the inevitable slide. Just don’t count General Motors North America President Alan Batey among those who says the downturn is about to begin.

Perspective!

“We think the industry will plateau at some time, but everything we see says that into the near future the industry will remain strong,” Batey told reporters.

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Despite Solid July Sales, Ford CFO Sees US Auto Recovery at an End

Sedan, coupes already signal a slowdown, but trucks holding momentum.

by on Jul.29, 2016

Ford may see a weakening of the U.S. market but its F-Series is still delivering solid numbers.

U.S. auto sales have been taking some uncertain detours in recent months, May numbers tumbling before the industry showed signs of rebounding in June. Preliminary estimates, meanwhile, suggest the market will look good for July, the industry back on track for another record year.

But senior Ford officials say that we may be at the end of the line for the current recovery, with sales likely to begin another cyclical slide in the near-term.

The Last Word!

“The growth is over,” Ford Chief Financial Officer Robert Shanks told the Reuters news service. The executive separately told analysts and reporters that, “We see the second half being softer than the first half. Looking into 2017, we think we will see further softness.”

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GM, Ford Insist They Will Remain Profitable in Deep Recession

Taking a “forward lean” into a “downside scenario.”

by on Mar.28, 2016

GM's Alan Batey introducing the 2017 Chevy Bolt.

Seven years after Detroit’s auto industry nearly collapsed, officials at the two largest domestic makers are taking pains to assure investors they will not only survive but thrive during the next big economic downturn.

Fears that the U.S. car market has peaked after hitting record sales of 17.5 million vehicles last year has made Wall Street increasingly wary, driving down the share prices for all the domestic makers, even as they report strong profits. But two top General Motors and Ford executives painted very different pictures for investors as the New York Auto Show opened to strong public attendance.

A Source You Can Trust!

“We believe the market is eventually going to plateau, but not in the immediate future,” declared Alan Batey, president of GM North America, during the annual Automotive Summit sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. And even if sales do take a tumble, he stressed, “We have reduced our break-even point to between 10 million and 11 million annual sales for the industry.”

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Ford Finds Way to Boost Bottom Line by $1.5 Billion

Ford Europe now shows black ink after a decade in the red.

by on Jan.07, 2016

Ford's earnings may look better but its stock prices continues to slide.

In a move that will give the company’s bottom line an immediate, $1.5 billion boost, Ford Motor Company is changing its method for reporting pension and other post-retirement employee benefits.

The change will provide a clearer view of Ford’s operating performance and segment results, according to Bob Shanks, the maker’s chief financial officer. In addition, Ford’s 2015 pre-tax profit, excluding special items, is now expected to increase to somewhere between $10 billion and $11 billion when the company issues its yearly financial statement late this month.

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Ford retrospectively applied this change and revised prior quarterly results. For the first nine months of 2015, the maker now says it made $8.2 billion, compared to the originally reported $7 billion in net earnings. The changes were felt in a number of regions, perhaps most significantly in Europe which has been struggling to get back into the black for a decade. Instead of another loss for the first three quarters, Ford now says it earned $128 million there.

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Ford Reports $8.8 Billion in Profit

Strong sales in North America, China drive results.

by on Jan.28, 2014

Ford reported $8.8 billion in pre-tax earnings for 2013, including $8.6 billion in North America.

Ford continued its run of profitable years in 2013 with strong sales in North America, Asia Pacific and South America. Even the company’s European unit saw sales increase though not enough to turn a profit.

For the fourth quarter, Ford made a strong run pushing the automaker over the finish line, where it recorded a pre-tax profit of $1.3 billion, or 31 cents per share; however, Ford recorded a favorable tax item for $2.1 billion pushing the maker’s net income for Q4 to $3 billion, or 74 cents per share: an increase of $1.4 billion compared with year-ago results.

Hot News for a Cold Winter!

Ford reported $8.8 billion in pre-tax profits for 2013, including a record $8.6 billion North America, although it would have been higher if not for the ongoing sluggishness of the European economy. Overall, the maker’s net income was $7.2 billion, or $1.76 per share. (more…)

Ford Doubling Quarterly Dividend

Maker hopes to improve share price, debt rating.

by on Jan.10, 2013

Ford is shining a little brighter in investors' eyes.

Ford Motor Co. will take another critical step in its recovery by doubling its shareholder dividend, the maker today announced.  Stockholders of record on January 30, 2013 will receive a 10-cent payout.

The move comes as the maker prepares to announce strong earnings for the final quarter of 2012 – and as its profit margin climbs to an all-time record level. Ford officials are clearly hoping to give a much-needed boost to the company’s stock price, which only recently began gaining momentum after more than a year in the doldrums.

The move also reflects growing optimism among analysts and ratings agencies, several of which recently bumped Ford debt up to investment grade after a decade in junk bond territory.

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“Our ability to double our dividend in one year is a testament to our One Ford plan, which has enabled us to maintain a solid balance sheet, while at the same time growing our business to provide our shareholders with more return on their investments,” said Bob Shanks, chief financial officer, Ford Motor Company.

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Automakers May Sidestep Resin Shortage

Meeting today could identify chemical alternatives.

by on Apr.30, 2012

A fire at the Evonik plant in Marl, Germany killed two and created a potential shortage of key resins.

What seemed, just last week, a crisis that could bring the global auto industry to its knees may actually turn out to be little more than an annoyance, or so industry leaders could learn today.

A late March explosion at a chemical plant in Germany left automakers scrambling when it appeared they might soon run out of a resin called PA-12 – alternately known as Nylon-12 – something with applications in everything from fuel tanks to seat fabrics.  The problem is that the German firm, Evonik, is the world’s largest producer of PA-12 and a precursor chemical that other manufacturers use to make the material.

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By mid-March some automotive suppliers were already warning of impending shortages – triggering emergency meetings around the globe, including one in Detroit that brought together more than 200 automotive executives charged with finding either new supplies or substitute materials.

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Kuzak, Booth Stepping Down at Ford but Mulally Says “No Plans to Retire.”

Shake-up to have no impact on One Ford strategy.

by on Feb.09, 2012

Ford's Derrick Kuzak oversaw the unusual step of announcing a joint venture with Toyota -- whose Takeshi Uchiyamada is shown here.

Two of the most senior and respected members of the Ford Motor Co. management team will retire, the maker announced this morning, but CEO Alan Mulally stressed that he himself has “no plans to retire,” and insisted the executive shake-up will have no measurable impact on the way the Detroit maker operates.

Nonetheless, the 65-year-old Mulally made it clear that he is quietly grooming the next generation of Ford managers, including the executive who will eventually succeed him.

It's Free!

This morning’s announcements involve a number of senior members of Ford’s management – but also sees a new name join the group, the company’s Board of Directors electing former Republican Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman to their ranks.

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