Ford Motor Co.
) revealed that its operating margins from North American
operations will come down to 10.0% in 2013 from 10.4% last year
as it expects the lion's share of sales to generate from
less-profitable small cars rather than high-margin trucks.
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Ford also expects increased costs associated with higher volumes
to affect margins growth. However, the automaker is banking on an
improving U.S. auto market, higher market share and increased
prices to boost its revenues.
In February this year, Ford topped all automakers in terms of
year-over-year sales growth. The company's sales rose 9.3% to
195,310 vehicles, driven by impressive sales of its Escape SUV
and Fusion sedan. Escape sales soared 29% while Fusion sales
surged 28% during the month. Together, the vehicles contributed
more than a quarter of the company's monthly sales.
General Motors Co.
) posted a 7.2% rise in sales to 224,314 vehicles in February,
driven by strong Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks
sales like January. Sales of Chevrolet Silverado leaped 29% while
GMC Sierra sales jumped 25% during the month.
Toyota Motor Corp.
) saw a disappointing 4.3% rise in sales to 166,377 vehicles
compared to its earlier performance as its popular car sales
dipped 3% and its less popular sport utility vehicles and truck
sales rose 16% during the month. Despite higher gas prices, sales
of its Prius hybrid went down 13.5%.
Another Japanese automaker,
Honda Motor Co.
) recorded a 2.0% drop in sales to 107,987 vehicles as steep
declines of its CR-V crossover and Civic small car sales offset
its strong 35% rise in new Accord sales. The company also
attributed heavy winter storms in the Northeast for the decline
Ford, a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock, posted a robust 55.0% rise in
earnings per share to 31 cents in the fourth quarter of 2012 from
20 cents in the same quarter of 2011 (all excluding special
items). With this, the company has beaten the Zacks Consensus
Estimate of 26 cents
Ford's fourth-quarter pre-tax profit of $1.7 billion was the
highest in a decade. Meanwhile, net profit surged 55.7% to $1.2
billion from $797 million a year ago. Thanks to the impressive
North American results and, to some extent, solid improvements in
Ford's market share in 2012 was 15.2% in the U.S., 7.9% in Europe
and 3.2% in China. In 2013, Ford expects market share in the U.S.
to be higher than 2012, Europe to be almost the same as in 2012,
and China to be higher than 2012.
During the year, Ford anticipates total company pre-tax operating
profit to be the same as in 2012. Ford Credit is expected to
report flat pre-tax operating profit compared with 2012.