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Sales of small cars like the Focus helped propel Ford t... Sales of small cars like the Focus helped propel Ford to its best first quarter in 13 years (Ford).
Ford Motor Co. earned $2.6 billion in the first three months of this year, a 22.4% increase from the same period a year ago and the company's best first quarter since 1998.

Ford used to rely heavily on the profits from pickup trucks and SUVs to make the black ink run in Dearborn, MI, but the company's latest performance is due to a resurgence in small and mid-size cars that Ford has made profitable by aggressive cost cutting and creating global efficiencies that would make founder Henry Ford proud.

Despite the still sluggish economy that has left many car buyers on the sidelines, Ford beat expectations by posting profit of 61 cents a share, well above the Wall Street forecast of 50 cents. Revenue at the company climbed 18% to $33.1 billion.

"Our team delivered a great quarter, with solid growth and improvements in all regions [of the world], said Ford CEO Alan Mulally. "We continue to to accelerate our 'One Ford' plan around the world."

Mulally arrived at Ford in 2006. His "One Ford" plan refers to his focus on building up the Ford "blue oval" brand worldwide. To that end, Mulally has sold off Ford's European luxury brands -- Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin -- over the last four years. He has also shuttered Mercury.

Ford, under Mulally, has also emphasized building global cars -- cars that are sold worldwide with very few changes made continent to continent. That focus and those changes to Ford's product development system have created efficiencies and cost reductions the company arguably hasn't seen since before World War Two.

The lion's share of Ford's first quarter profit came from North America where profit, before taxes, rose 49% to $1.8 billion.

Ford's image has been improving with consumers, helping attract new customers, as well as getting customers to spend more per vehicle. TrueCar.com, a market research firm, reported that the average Ford vehicle sold for $31,862 in March, $541 higher than the year-earlier average of $31,321.

Sales of Ford vehicles are rising across the board. Fiesta, Fusion, Edge, Escape, Explorer and F-Series models rose 16% in the U.S. from a year earlier. The F-Series pickup trucks posted a 23% year-over-year sales increase in the first quarter, despite rising gas prices and a moribund housing market that is normally the life-blood of pickup sales.

Back in 2009 when General Motors and Chrysler needed tax-payer bailouts and government funds to assist it through bankruptcy re-organizations, Ford stayed above the fray, taking on debt, but staying independent. Meantime, the rising quality of Ford vehicles has been recognized by third party ranking firms and publications such as Consumer Reports and J.D. Power and Associates.

One of the big reasons Ford is surging is that, unlike GM and Chrysler, the company did not have to derail any of its new model programs in 2008 and 2009 the way the other companies did as they went through the bailout process. Ford is replacing its old models with new and refreshed designs at a faster rate than its cross-town rivals, and new models have traditionally pumped sales.

The economy has consumers holding onto their cars longer. The average age of vehicles on the road today is above ten years. But many vehicle owners reaching their limit and are coming off the sidelines to buy new cars, even if they are shopping for vehicles less expensive than the ones they are replacing.

As Toyota and Honda lose auto production this year in the aftermath of the Japan earthquake and tsunami, Ford is widely viewed as the company that stands to benefit the most in the U.S.


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  • 88 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      I was always a GM person but switched to Ford when we lost of GM dealership in my town. I wanted to buy locally. We bought a brand new 2007 Crown Victoria black on black with the sport package and love the car. I am only saddened by Ford dropping the Crown Vic. We purposely bought in 2007, the last year for the Crown Vic.. We are so glad we did not buy a Government Motors car.
      • 3 Years Ago
      S,Y. I have a Ford Escape which to me is a car that needs a makeover. The tires wore out at 23,000 miles and at 26,400 miles it need new tie rods. I never had a car with that much go bad with only 27,500 miles so soon. I wount by another Ford after this...
        • 3 Years Ago
        Fall of 2012 there will be a new Escape.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Let go of all the Ford hype not taking bailout money.They were also making tanks for the government not just cars ,so they got government money most likely with no government oversight as we have seen with most government contracts.
      wongtpa
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ford prevails because they are not run by the UAW and Obama. Ford did not take the bail out and prospered. GM & Chrysler are still losing money and will continue with vehicle like the Dolt/Volt! Buy American. buy Ford!!!!!!!!!!
        sammisal
        • 3 Years Ago
        @wongtpa
        to all you people whodo not know, the reason ford did not take bailout money is bscause they did not want to give control to the government. why? because ford is still owned by the ford family, over 37%.
      pamona2612
      • 3 Years Ago
      If we still carry so much debt within the company and our top two exec are paid well, why does our board splash 100 million dollars on these two as a bonus rather than pay down debt. For each Mulally and Ford (already rich family) that is almost exactly $100 per minute/ every minute of the year for a full year whether thay are bathing, eating, sleeping or whatever. Sounds like a bit of stupidity and lack of concern for the stockholders and old Ford employees. Do these kind of figures bother any of you also????
      albertluis61
      • 3 Years Ago
      Can't wait to see what will happen to Toyota, Honda, and all the other shitty Asian cars once American cars are made more fuel efficient (Chevvy Volt is already more clean than the Prius!) That will be the death of those unrealiable pieces of ****.
      injun99999
      • 3 Years Ago
      Honda fan but I am going to start buying Fords. Won't buy a GovM or Fiat though, Ford did it with quality, I will give them a try.
      cmcclarty
      • 3 Years Ago
      Bring the RS turbo focus here and it will sell.
      Dave
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have a 2003 Crown Victoria that has close to 100,000 miles on it now, and have never had any big problems with it. It's a sturdy car that's great to drive on long trips. My wife's '97 Crown Vic has over 135,000 miles and it floats like a boat and still has that same responsiveness and pep it had when it was new. I especially like Ford now because they never took any bailout money from The Evil One.
      txswalker
      • 3 Years Ago
      ooo..I was first
      freekybig53
      • 3 Years Ago
      I put 320,000 miles on a 1990 Lincoln Towncar before i sold it and the only problem was that the exhaust system started going bad and now I am driving a 1999 Ford Ranger with 251,00 miles on it and it still runs excellent !! I have not and will never own anything but a Ford !!!
      txswalker
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ford shows American Pride and quality in thier prducts. Why would anyone be suprised that the other companies floundered under goverment control. I will never again buy another manufacture.BUY FORD BUY AMERICAN.
        david85719
        • 3 Years Ago
        @txswalker
        i bought Americian. I bought a toyota built in the USA!!!
          • 3 Years Ago
          @david85719
          yeah, thanks for sending our dollars back to japan you ignorant ... way to disown Henry Ford and the Ford family
          stevendy1
          • 3 Years Ago
          @david85719
          you traitorous moron..
          ragan101
          • 3 Years Ago
          @david85719
          And the money went to Japan
          lars6667
          • 3 Years Ago
          @david85719
          Although I only buy US cars, at least Toyota is employing US workers and this does support our economy. There's got to be some give and take here. If the rest of the world always thought like the people responding to this do, we wouldn't sell any cars in Europe and our economy would be even worse off.
          norich
          • 3 Years Ago
          @david85719
          c'mon Dave. Arfe you really that stupid you don't know all the net profit goes right back to Japanland?? And you shoot your miuth off about buying American??
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