CHICAGO Ford Motor Co.
expects to manufacture 770,000 cars and light trucks in North
America this quarter, up 4.8 percent from fourth-quarter
production of 735,000 vehicles, and expects its global output
to rise 4.8 percent to 1.57 million vehicles.
The Dearborn, Mich.-based
automaker projects U.S. auto industry sales will total between
15 million and 16 million vehicles this year, while European
Union sales will be at the lower end of a
13-million-to-14-million range and Chinese auto sales are
expected to top 19.5 million. Global sales are expected to
range from 80 million to 85 million vehicles.
Fords chief financial
officer, Bob Shanks, predicted a loss of $2 billion in Europe
this year, reflecting lower sales due to the regions
recession, structural costs from shutting down facilities and
the expense of payouts to laid-off employees.
"The business environment in
Europe remains uncertain," Shanks said during a Jan. 29
conference call. He added that Ford will take further action to
restructure its European operations as needed, but the company
also is investing in new product launches to maintain its No. 2
sales spot. Ford expects to return to profitability in the
region by mid-decade. "We hope this (13-million-vehicle sales
projection) will be the trough," Shanks said. "We believe the
industry will turn around and we will get to a profitable,
growing Europe for Ford Motor Co."
In North America, healthy sales
are being driven by replacement demand for aging vehicles,
chairman and chief executive officer Alan Mulally said. Shanks
said that Ford has added 400,000 vehicles of additional
capacity and four more shifts over the past year to meet
The automaker is building seven
plants in the Asia-Pacific region and in Africa, and launching
"lots of new products," Mulally said. "Asia-Pacific is seeing
top-line results and more meaningful profits coming as we move
through the decade."
Ford posted annual net income of
nearly $5.67 billion, down 72 percent from $20.21 billion in
2011, on revenue that slipped 1.5 percent to $134.3 billion.
Its fourth-quarter net income of $1.6 billion was down 88.3
percent from $13.62 billion in the same period a year earlier
despite a 5.5-percent increase in revenue to $36.5 billion.
The company said the decline was
due in large part to a $1.7-billion loss in Europe, plus
pension payouts in the United States ($250 million) and Belgium
($105 million) and additional personnel- and dealer-related
costs of $552 million.