Ford Motor Co. said its first-quarter profit fell amid lower revenue and one-time expenses but added that total 2019 results are “on track” to exceed 2018’s.
The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker posted a quarterly profit of $1.15 billion, or 29 cents a share, down from $1.74 billion, or 43 cents, a year earlier. Revenue for the quarter slipped to $40.3 billion from almost $42 billion in 2018’s first three months.
The company said in a statement it sold fewer vehicles in the quarter as it discontinued the Focus small car in North America and ramped up output of the redesigned Explorer. Ford also had $600 million in costs from exiting the heavy-truck business in South America as well as restructuring and cutting jobs in Europe.
Despite the lower profit, outgoing Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks said in a statement the results. “put us on track to deliver better company results in 2019 than last year.”
CEO Jim Hackett is attempting to make Ford’s automotive operations more efficient while it plans to produce self-driving vehicles and electrified vehicles. Ford also is moving to cut salaried jobs in its home North American operations.
“With a solid plan in place, we promised 2019 would be a year of action and execution for Ford,” Hackett said in the statement. “We’re pleased with the progress and the optimism that it brings.”
Optimism didn’t change how Ford continues to lean on North America. The region had quarterly earnings before interest and taxes of $2.2 billion, a $300 million improvement from a year earlier. It also had a European profit of $57 million compared with a year-earlier loss of $62 million.
However, Ford posted a $158 million loss in South America and a deficit of $128 million in China.
Ford is mostly ending car production in North America to concentrate on pickups, crossovers and sport-utility vehicles. Ford says it will concentrate its investments primarily in those segments.
“2019 is a year of action,” Hackett said on a conference call to discuss financial results.