Earnings

Ford delivered stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings as demand for its popular pickups and SUVs in North America helped boost losses in China and South America.

Ford’s stock jumped by more than 8% in extended trading Thursday.

Here’s how the company did compared with what Wall Street expected, based on average estimates compiled by Refinitiv:

  • Adjusted earnings per share: 44 cents vs. a forecast of 27 cents per share
  • Automotive segment revenue: $37.24 billion vs. a forecast of $37.08 billion

The company’s total revenue was $40.34 billion during the quarter, lower than its $41.96 billion in revenue during the same quarter last year.

On an unadjusted basis, Ford’s profit slid 34% from the year earlier. It earned $1.15 billion, or 29 cents a share, down from $1.74 billion, or 43 cents a share, during the same quarter last year.

Ford shares were up more than 23% year-to-date through Wednesday, but still down by about 15% over the past 12 months.

The company, which release earnings after the markets closed Thursday, credited its better-than-expected performance in North America to strong truck and sport utility vehicle sales there, particularly its F-Series and Ranger pickups.

Ford’s redesigned some of its most popular vehicles, set to launch later this year or next, including updates of its Ranger and Super Duty pickups, the Explorer and Escape SUVs, as well the all-new Aviator and all-new Corsair from Lincoln. The automaker will have replaced 75% of its U.S. lineup by the end of next year, the company said.

The Detroit automaker said its U.S. North American operating profits were $2.2 billion. Ford only reported operating losses in South America and China. They lost $158 million and $128 million, respectively. Ford also reported operating profits in the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, and Europe.

Outside North America, the company had an operating loss of $196 million, which was an improvement of $632 million from the prior quarter.

“This quarter was a really good start for the year,” Ford CFO Bob Shanks said in a statement announcing the results. “We expect first quarter EBIT to be the strongest of the year due to seasonal factors and major product launches ahead. It does, however, put us on track to deliver better company results in 2019 than last year.”

Ford’s North American profit margin was 8.7%. The full company margin was 6.1%.

The quarterly numbers come amid Ford’s $11 billion restructuring plan, with an aim to slash costs by $14 billion over the next five years. The plan involves focusing on Ford’s historically strongest segments like trucks, utilities, and muscle cars, while scaling back international operations, investing in new technologies, and featuring more profitable vehicles.

Ford announced Wednesday it has invested $500 million in electric truck maker Rivian to build a battery-powered electric vehicle.

The stock closed at $9.41 a share on Thursday.

The company is holding a conference call with CEO Jim Hackett and other executives at 5:30 p.m. ET to discuss the results.

This story is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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