Ford Reports Nearly $9B Loss

Ford Motor president and CEO Alan Mulally addresses a news conference at Ford Motor Company headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., Sept. 5, 2006. Ford is hoping the former Boeing CEO can apply his experience at the aircraft giant to revamp the automaker's product strategy and restore profitability. AP

Ford Motor Co. said Thursday it lost $8.67 billion in the second quarter largely because of a reduction in the value of assets.

The company also announced that it will bring six European small car models to North America by the end of 2012 as it deals with a market shift from trucks to cars brought on by high gasoline prices. The company also will retool two more North American truck and sport utility vehicle plants to build small, fuel-efficient vehicles.

The second-quarter loss was $3.88 per share, compared with net profit of $750 million, or 31 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

The loss includes $8.03 billion worth of write-offs because of a decline in value of North American assets and Ford Motor Credit Co.'s lease portfolio. Even excluding those special items, Ford lost 62 cents per share, worse than Wall Street expected. Twelve analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial, on average, expected a 27 cent loss per share.

Ford's second-quarter revenue was $38.6 billion, down $5.6 billion from the year-ago period. Analysts expected $34.6 billion.

Ford said it will retool the Michigan Truck plant in suburban Detroit, shifting its products from large SUVs to make global vehicles off the European Focus platform by 2010.

The SUVs made at Michigan Truck - the Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition - will be shifted to the Kentucky Truck plant in Louisville.

The company also will retool the Louisville Assembly Plant, which now builds the Ford Explorer midsize SUV, to produce vehicles on the European Focus frame, starting in 2011.

Ford also said its Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul, Minn., will continue producing the Ranger small pickup through 2011. The plant was scheduled to close next year.

Ford also said in a statement that it does not expect a U.S. economic recovery to start until early 2010.

The company said its write-offs included $5.3 billion in North America and $2.1 billion in write-downs for Ford Credit's truck-heavy lease portfolio. Chief Financial Officer Don Leclair said most of the write-down was triggered by the drop in value of the company's truck and SUV inventory and lease residuals.

Ford reported a pretax loss of $1.3 billion in North America because of the deteriorating U.S. market and the shift away from trucks. U.S. sales overall were down 10 percent in the first half of the year, with Ford's sales down 14 percent.

The company, though, continued to be profitable overseas, posting a $582 million profit in Europe and $388 million in South America. The company also made $50 million at its Asia-Pacific-Africa division.

"The second half will continue to be challenging, but we have absolutely the right plan to respond to the changing business environment and begin to grow again for the long term," President and CEO Alan Mulally said in a statement.
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