Ford earnings up 71% in 1st quarter

April 20, 1995|By New York Times News Service

DEARBORN, Mich. -- Ford Motor Co. said yesterday that its earnings jumped in the first quarter, as strengthening sales in Europe and South America compensated for what the company called a surprisingly weak auto market in the United States.

The earnings disappointed Wall Street analysts, who had expected a stronger performance from Ford's core North American operations. Shares of Ford rose 62.5 cents, to $27.75, yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange.

In total, earnings rose 71 percent, to $1.55 billion. But in the first quarter last year Ford took an extraordinary charge of $440 million to account for the sale of First Nationwide bank, reducing its profits to $904 million. Excluding the charge, Ford's earnings improved by 15 percent.

Revenue during the quarter rose 14.5 percent, to $34.8 billion, and Ford made large gains in market share at home and abroad.

Within the United States, strong sales of light trucks like the Explorer sport utility vehicle raised Ford's share of the market to 26.6 percent, from 24.8 percent a year ago. Ford said that was its biggest share of the domestic market since 1978.

The Ford profit margins on U.S. sales deteriorated during the first three months of the year, however.

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