Ford Posts $1 Billion Profit

The company logo shines off the chromed grille of an unsold 2010 Fusion sedan at a Ford dealership in Denver on Sunday, Aug. 2, 2009. Lured by the government's cash-for-clunkers campaign, car and truck buyers started to return to Ford Motor Co. showrooms last month, with the automaker reporting its first U.S. sales increase in nearly two years. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Ford Motor Co. earned $1 billion in the third quarter, fueled by U.S. market share gains, cost cuts and the government's Cash for Clunkers rebates.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker on Monday reported net income of $997 million, or 29 cents per share. Ford says it now expects to be "solidly profitable" in 2011. Previously the automaker said it would be break-even or better.

Shares of Ford, the only Detroit automaker to dodge government aid and bankruptcy protection, rose 50 cents, or 7.1 percent, to $7.50 in pre-market trading.

The latest results signal that Ford's turnaround is on more solid ground. The company lost more than $14.6 billion in 2008 and hasn't posted a full-year profit since 2005. While it made a profit in the second quarter, that was mainly due to debt reductions that cut its interest payments.

Its North American car and truck division - a key business - posted a pretax profit of $357 million, its first quarter in the black since early 2005. Ford cited higher pricing, lower material costs and increased market share for the improvement.

The earnings came despite an $800 million revenue drop. But Ford said it cut costs by $1 billion during the quarter.

But Ford still has big problems - labor problems, reports CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds. It reached its relative prosperity through, among other things, a rigorous restructuring - corporate-speak for slashing 53,000 jobs and closing 13 plants since 2006.

Now a new contract with Ford approved by the UAW leadership - but including a six-year no-strike clause - is getting rejected by more than 70 percent of the rank and file, reports Reynolds.

Gary Walkowicz led the effort to reject it and his local sure did - by 93 percent.

"I think people were angry and fed up with concessions," Walkowicz told Reynolds. "We've given up concessions year after year for the last five years and I think people just got to be saying enough is enough. That's it."

Ford also has $26.9 billion in debt, up $800 million from the second quarter.

Ford didn't quantify the impact of Cash for Clunkers, which offered buyers payments to trade in their vehicles. The program helped Ford cut costly incentives and raise production. It also won buyers; the Ford Focus and Ford Escape were among the top five sellers in the program. Ford sales were up 17 percent in August thanks to the program.

Ford also has benefited from consumer goodwill after it declined government bailout money and didn't go into bankruptcy over the summer as GM and Chrysler did. Ford grabbed sales from its rivals, posting the largest increase in market share of any automaker in September. Ford expects an overall gain in U.S. market share in 2009, a feat it hasn't accomplished since 1995.
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