DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. is projecting confidence that it can stick to an $11 billion restructuring plan and aggressively roll out new products even as it predicts the coronavirus crisis will sap billions from its balance sheet in the coming months.
The automaker last week reported a $2 billion net loss in the first quarter and warned it could lose more than $5 billion in the second quarter from operations, largely because of the global pandemic that has halted vehicle production and disrupted business for more than a month.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for us as well," Ford COO Jim Farley said on a Bank of America webcast last week. "We have a great portfolio of products that are just about to come out. Are there adjustments to be made there? Yes, but the product strategy we've talked about has never been more important."
How the crisis is hitting the Detroit 3 will become clearer this week, when General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are scheduled to report their first-quarter results. All three companies have been unable to generate revenue from North American vehicle production for more than a month.
Farley suggested Ford is assessing every part of its business in light of the virus outbreak.
"Are there businesses now with COVID hangover that need to be freshened, re-looked at, remade? The answer is everything's on the table," he said. "We want to be aggressive during the crisis."
CFO Tim Stone said the company had been on track to post adjusted earnings of $1.4 billion or more before interest and taxes in the first quarter. Instead, it suffered its second consecutive quarterly loss.
"Our objective is not just to withstand the crisis. We're ensuring the flexibility to continue to invest in our future," Stone said on a conference call with reporters.
But some investments are already being pushed back or canceled.
Ford last week said a project with startup Rivian to develop an electric vehicle for the Lincoln brand would be shelved and that the launch of its autonomous vehicle commercial services, planned for next year, would be postponed until 2022.
Ford CEO Jim Hackett said Ford would continue putting money into "growth opportunities." Those include new products such as the upcoming redesigned F-150, Bronco SUV, Bronco Sport crossover and Mustang Mach-E electric crossover.
Hackett said on the earnings call that "even though we took measures to preserve cash, we are moving forward" on plans to introduce new products and invest in autonomy and electrification. "We're totally committed to it," he said.
Ford said it still can't provide full-year financial guidance because "today's economic environment remains too ambiguous."
Officials last week said the process of reopening plants and offices could take until early July, when it expects the last of its white-collar work force to return.
The company detailed a number of safety measures it will implement in manufacturing facilities, including mandatory face masks, daily temperature checks and the closure of common areas such as cafeterias or fitness centers.
Outside of a modest profit in North America, Ford lost money in every region in the first quarter — including a $241 million loss in China, which was the first region impacted by the virus.
The automaker has resumed production there and plans to bring European facilities back online this week.
Stone said Ford's $35 billion in cash as of April 24 was sufficient to get it through the end of the year "with no additional vehicle wholesales or financing actions."