Crystal ball time. Ford CFO Don Leclair has reiterated that the North American automotive operations will be profitable in 2009, even if only slightly. In Ford's announcement today, Leclair showed a chart that one analyst said displayed a "thin sliver of profits." Peter Nesvold of Bear Stearns estimated the 2009 profit from the chart at around $250 million. After Ford's North American loss of $3.3 billion, any profit is a good one.

Leclair went out of his way to say that the profit projection, just like the moves being made in Ford's operations, are a work in progress. Committing to a large profit with all of the market's uncertainties would be unwise. They are basing their profit projection on a market of around 17 million vehicle sales. The conference call Leclair was participating in was covering Ford's restatement of Q3 earnings.

[Source: Automotive News, sub req]