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Ford rides higher vehicle prices to strong quarter, maintains forecast – Metro US

Ford rides higher vehicle prices to strong quarter, maintains forecast

FILE PHOTO: Ford logo is seen at the North American
FILE PHOTO: Ford logo is seen at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan

By Ben Klayman and Paul Lienert

DETROIT (Reuters) -Ford Motor Co posted better-than-expected quarterly results on Wednesday and maintained its profit forecast for the year, citing strong vehicle pricing that partly offset higher costs and inflation.

Chief Financial Officer John Lawler called the performance “mixed,” saying continued chip shortages hit the company hard, especially on its large and most profitable vehicles – the F-Series pickup and Expedition and Navigator SUVs.

“The capability of this business is much stronger than what we were able to provide in the quarter and that was due to the constraints,” Lawler said, citing about 53,000 vehicles that had been built but not shipped as they awaited final parts held up by the chip shortage.

Ford and other automakers have been hit by supply-chain disruptions, inflation of raw materials and rising U.S. interest rates, but Lawler said higher vehicle prices had mostly offset those pressures.

A day earlier, General Motors Co also cited strong pricing on sales of more expensive models as its first-quarter results beat estimates.

Ford’s Lawler would not rule out additional price increases if the company faces further cost inflation. He also said Ford was being aggressive in cutting costs ahead of possible further inflation.

Ford posted operating earnings of $2.3 billion in the first quarter, above expectations but well below the year-earlier $3.9 billion. A markdown in the value of its stake in electric vehicle maker Rivian Automotive Inc resulted in a first-quarter net loss of $3.1 billion.

The automaker’s operating profit of 38 cents a share beat analysts’ estimates by a penny. Revenue of $34.5 billion also topped estimates of $31.1 billion.

Citing the strong demand and pricing, Ford reaffirmed its forecast for operating earnings in the full year of $11.5 billion to $12.5 billion.

The company is also riding a wave of enthusiasm for new models, including the F-150 Lightning electric pickup, which began volume production on Tuesday amid surging demand.

(Reporting by Paul Lienert and Ben Klayman in DetroitEditing by Chris Reese and Matthew Lewis)

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