Ford earnings beat forecasts, but fell from the prior year as the company transitions its vehicle lineup, and launches its new aluminum F-150 pickup truck. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Ford's new aluminum F-150 trucks are speeding off dealers lots at such a pace that Ford says it may have its best January in 11 years. That early success helping to lift Ford stock after the number two auto maker reported better-than-expected profits, indicating 2015 will be the year they really gain traction. Reuters Breakingviews Antony Currie: (SOUNDBITE) ANTONY CURRIE, COLUMNIST, REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "They are looking for anything up to nine and a half billion in pretax profit which is a 50% increase on last year if they don't have any one off items like they had last year. " Last year wasn't great for Ford. Both, earnings and revenue, were down, and profit margins fell to just 4.3 percent. Ford is in the middle of replacing or updating two dozen or so models, including the top selling F-150 truck. Kelley Blue Book's Karl Brauer: (SOUNDBITE) KARL BRAUER, SENIOR ANALYST, KELLEY BLUE BOOK (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Ford has a lot of things in the pipeline that they are going to be doing soon, and they are going to be able to capture a lot of the market shift that we are seeing for both trucks and SUV's, but unfortunately those things weren't ready really in 2014, and that is why they slipped a little vs some of their competitors." But the strengthening dollar is shifting industry dynamics. (SOUNDBITE) KARL BRAUER, SENIOR ANALYST, KELLEY BLUE BOOK (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We are seeing the situation where a lot of the foreign currencies are dropping which gives the foreign automakers a a real advantage" Overseas troubles go beyond the currency issues. Ford pointed to Europe as a continuing trouble spot warning it would lose more money there than previously thought. But Ford added North America continues to be its best market, and that will be the key profit driver for the year.