Ford swings to $3.3B net profit in Q1, warns of 50% cut in Q2 output

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DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. on Wednesday posted its highest first-quarter net income in a decade but said it could lose half of planned production in the second quarter because of the semiconductor shortage that has halted some high-profit assembly lines.

The automaker said it earned $3.3 billion from January through March as it recovered from the coronavirus pandemic that resulted in a $2 billion net loss a year earlier.

Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes rose to $4.8 billion in the first quarter from a $600 million loss in the same period a year earlier. Its adjusted margin rose to 13.3 percent.

Revenue jumped to $36.2 billion from $34.3 billion in the first quarter of 2020.

The automaker made $1.15 billion in the first quarter of 2019 — the last comparable time before the pandemic.

“Our team is relentlessly executing our plan to turn around our automotive business so that we can create and deliver the high-value, always-on experience that our Ford and Lincoln customers deserve,” Ford CEO Jim Farley said in a statement. “There’s no question we’re becoming a stronger, more resilient company.”

Ford lowered the top end of its full-year guidance, with the semiconductor shortage costing an estimated $2.5 billion.

The company now expects to lose 1.1 million units of production throughout 2021, much greater than its earlier projection of 200,000 to 400,000 vehicles.

CFO John Lawler told journalists that Ford has about 22,000 vehicles partially built but missing components because of the chip shortage. He said the company had a 33-day supply of retail vehicles available and that he expected that number to “tighten a little further.” 

Lawler said the company had put some new processes in place to help customers and dealers find specific models that might not be available but did not elaborate.

It expects full-year EBIT of $5.5 billion to $6.5 billion, down from the $5.5 billion to $8 billion range it gave previously.

Ford shares slipped 3 percent to $12.06 in after-hours trading.

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