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Ford posts solid Q3 profit, surging sales

Ford vehicles

NEW YORK, Oct 26 – Ford Motor Co. on Wednesday reported solid profits for the third quarter as a higher pricing strategy drove sales higher.

The second-largest US automaker said it had income of $1.65 billion in the July-September period.

Revenue rose 14 percent for the nation’s best-selling brand, to $33.1 billion, the Dearborn, Michigan-based company said in a statement.

Ford’s profit was two percent lower than the same period in 2010, but exceeded market expectations.

Earnings per share on a pre-tax basis and excluding special items were 46 cents, a penny more than most analysts estimated.

It was the 10th consecutive quarterly profit for Ford, the only major US automaker that did not seek a government bailout during the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

Alan Mulally, Ford president and chief executive, said the company delivered “solid” results “despite an uncertain business environment.”

“We accomplished this while continuing to invest for future growth and focusing on developing outstanding products with segment-leading quality, fuel efficiency, safety, smart design and value,” he said in the statement.

Automotive pre-tax profit was $1.3 billion, an increase of $45 million from the same period a year ago on a higher pricing strategy, the company said.

North America and South America reported pre-tax profits, while Europe and Asia Pacific and Africa posted a loss for the period.

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The company said it sold a total 1.3 million vehicles in the third quarter, up 93,000 units from a year ago, with every one of its business segments reporting increases.

Profit gains were partially offset by higher costs, a third of them commodity costs.

Ford said it had continued to strengthen its balance sheet in the third quarter, paring debt in its automotive division by $1.3 billion.

“We remain well on track to deliver improved full year pre-tax operating profit and Automotive operating-related cash flow, consistent with our guidance,” said Lewis Booth, Ford executive vice president and chief financial officer.

“Our liquidity remains strong, and we will continue to take actions when appropriate to strengthen our balance sheet.”

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