• Total Automotive debt will be reduced to about $10 billion by 2015, down from $16.6 billion at March 31, 2011 and from $33.6 billion at the end of 2009.
• The company expects to return to investment grade in the near future, and resume paying dividends after that "at an appropriate level of after-tax earnings."
• Ford expects global automotive operating margins to increase to 8 to 9 percent in 2015 from 6.1 percent in 2010. North America operating margin at mid-decade is expected to be in the 8 percent to 10 percent range.
Ford will finance its expansion without new debt and while improving profit margins, Booth said.
"We are going to finance it out of our own resources," Booth said. "We expect our cash flow to improve as our profitability improves."
Ford is reducing debt by $2.6 billion in the second quarter, which will help the automaker return to an investment- grade credit rating, Booth said. The automaker, which will take on $500 million in U.S. Energy Department loans, will pay down $2.3 billion of a term line and $800 million on a revolving line of credit, he said.
Toyota Motor Corp. led the world in automobile sales last year with 8.42 million, topping General Motors Co. by 30,000. Volkswagen AG, third last year at 7.14 million, has said it aims to sell 10 million autos by 2018. Executives privately aim to meet that goal by 2015, a person with knowledge of the matter said in October. Ford sold 5.3 million vehicles last year.
"Ford is playing catch-up in China because VW and GM are so dominant there," Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with researcher IHS Automotive, said in an interview. "They still have work to do in Asia and they have work to do in small cars because people don't think of Ford for small cars."
Ford will triple its lineup in China by offering 15 models, including the Kuga small sport-utility vehicle, by mid-decade, Booth said. Ford also is adding factory capacity in China.
"We'll be competing in a much broader segment of the market in China," Booth said. "We're in 22 percent of the industry segments today, and we'll be in 50 percent by 2015."
No acquisition plans
The automaker's growth won't be driven by takeovers, Booth said.
"We have no plans for acquisitions," he said.
Ford rose 4 cents to $13.95 on the New York Stock Exchange today. The shares dropped 17 percent this year before today.
The automaker earned $9.28 billion in the past two years after $30.1 billion in losses from 2006 through 2008. Ford still gets most of its sales and profits from the U.S. and Europe. It had 2.4 percent share of the passenger-vehicle market in China, the world's largest auto market, J.D. Power & Associates said in April. GM's share was 10 percent.
"They have to be less dependent on the U.S. and expand in Asia and China, the fastest-growing markets in the world," Lindland said of Ford. "That's where the growth opportunities are and they have to be there."
Ford is building a new plant in the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing with its passenger-vehicle joint venture Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co. and plans to set up a new engine plant there. It sells the Focus compact and Fiesta subcompact in China, where it plans to double the number of dealerships to 680 by 2015.
The new small cars and the redesigned Explorer SUV are commanding higher prices in the U.S., which helped boost first- quarter net income 22 percent to $2.55 billion, the most for the period since 1998.
The automaker borrowed $23.4 billion in late 2006, putting up all major assets including its blue oval logo as collateral. The cash helped Ford to avoid the bankruptcies and bailouts that befell the predecessors of GM and Chrysler Group LLC.
The New York Times reported the sales target earlier.