With both sales and market share up for 2011 and Ford likely to post the strongest earnings it has seen in years, the maker’s goal of “growing profitably…is on track,” asserted CEO Alan Mulally.
It has clearly been a good year for the maker, which posted $1.6 billion in earnings for the most recent quarter after landing solidly in the black for the first half of the year. It has slashed debt, seen sales grow by double digits in many months and will finish the year with about a 0.1 point increase in share, which has climbed back to 16.8%, putting it less than three points behind arch-rival General Motors.
That’s not to say Ford doesn’t have its challenges, company officials acknowledged during a series of conversations at a holiday gathering with the media. Japanese makers, sidelined for much of 2011 due to earthquake and flood-related production shortages, are roaring back with a vengeance. And Ford has taken some unexpected hits on the quality charts lately after steady gains in recent years.