Ford posts record profit

Ford Motor Co, propelled by new models that are boosting its US share, reported third-quarter net income of $1.69 billion, the highest in the automaker’s 107- year history.

The results topped the previous third-quarter record of $1.13 billion, set in 1997. Excluding some items, profit was 48 cents a share, beating the 38-cent average of 12 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The second-largest US automaker had net income of $997 million in last year’s third quarter and an adjusted per-share profit of 26 cents.

Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally has revived Ford by improving quality and expanding offerings of the namesake brand. Ford, the only major US automaker to avoid bankruptcy, won 15.1 per cent of US light-vehicle sales in the quarter, up from 13 per cent two years ago, as buyers pay more for new models such as the Fiesta subcompact and Super Duty pickups.

“Ford has elevated its brand,” said Jessica Caldwell, director of pricing and industry analysis for automotive researcher “They’re attracting a more discerning buyer who has more income and can afford more options.”

Buyers of Ford cars and trucks paid an average of $30,636 per model in September, up 10 per cent from five years ago, as they loaded up on options like voice-activated telephone and stereo systems, according to Santa Monica, California-based Edmunds. That’s the highest average price Edmunds has recorded for Ford since the researcher began gathering data in 2002, Caldwell said.

Ford’s third-quarter sales fell 4.3 percent to $29 billion as the company boosted North American production 16 percent to 570,000 cars and trucks. The average of eight analysts’ estimates was for revenue of $27 billion. Excluding last year’s revenue from Volvo, which Ford has since sold, sales rose in the quarter by $1.7 billion, the company said.