DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co.reported third-quarter net income of $2.4 billion and raised its full-year forecast even as it readies for a number of major product launches in the coming months.
The automaker's adjusted earnings before interest and taxes in the quarter more than doubled from the same period a year ago to $3.6 billion, and margins jumped to 9.7 percent. Revenue increased 1 percent to $37.5 billion.
Ford generated nearly $3.2 billion in North America with a profit margin of 12.5 percent. CFO John Lawler credited higher demand than anticipated and stronger pricing on popular nameplates including F-Series pickups and Transit vans.
Ford made $72 million in its International Markets Group but lost money in China, Europe and South America.
Lawler said Ford was on track to post a profit for the quarter in Europe before a supplier issue related to battery fires in the Kuga crossover led to an overall loss. He said the issue will not affect the upcoming launch of the Mustang Mach-E.
Ford Credit posted $1.1 billion in profits, its best quarterly result since 2005.
"We haven't suddenly fixed the issues in our automotive business, but we have a clear turnaround plan to get that done," Ford CEO Jim Farley said in a statement Wednesday.
"That work is under way and we're making progress."
The automaker now says it expects positive full-year adjusted EBIT of between $600 million and $1.1 billion instead of the loss it projected due to the coronavirus pandemic and costs related to a flurry of upcoming major product launches. Ford said it expects an adjusted fourth quarter loss of no more than $500 million.
The company’s results will be negatively impacted by an expected 100,000-unit reduction in the number of F-Series pickups it sells in the fourth quarter because of the changeover to a redesigned model.
Ford said the fourth quarter and full-year guidance assumes no additional plant shutdowns due to the ongoing pandemic. Ford's net income in the third quarter of 2019 was $425 million. And net income through three quarters of 2020 totaled $1.5 billion.
Lawler said Ford in the third quarter paid back the rest of the nearly $15 billion in credit lines it drew down earlier this year to weather the outbreak. Ford earlier this year also suspended its dividend, and Lawler said Wednesday the company would not provide any updates about reinstating it until next spring.
Farley, on a conference call with analysts, promised a spring event where executives would provide more details on future financial targets and other “measurable key performance indicators.”
Ford shares rose 4.5 percent to $8.05 in aftermarket trading on Wednesday.
Swipe at GM
Farley on the earnings call said Ford will unveil a Transit EV next month. The electric van is expected to go into production later next year for the 2022 model year.
Taking a swipe at crosstown rival General Motors, which unveiled the GMC Hummer EV last week, Farley said the upcoming Transit might not be “as dramatic as a $100,000 retail off-roader” but is a “really big deal” for the company.
Ford will focus much of its electrification effort on the commercial vehicle market and sees the potential for growth by offering fleets software and telematics services in addition to vehicles.
“We’re in the first inning of electrification,” Farley said. “It will be a long game that plays out over many years.”