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Strong North American sales power Ford's results

Keywords: Tags  Ford Motor, first quarter, auto, results, sales, Alan Mulally, North America, Europe South America

CHICAGO — Ford Motor Co. recorded net income of $1.61 billion in the first quarter of 2013, up 15.4 percent year over year, on sales that grew 10.5 percent to $35.8 billion.

"Our strong first-quarter results provide further proof that our One Ford plan continues to deliver," president and chief executive officer Alan Mulally said in an April 24 statement. "Our plan remains centered on serving customers in all markets around the world."

For the three months ended March 31, Ford’s wholesale volume and revenue were each more than 10 percent higher than a year ago, primarily due to strong performances in North America and the Asia Pacific/Africa regions, the company said.

Meanwhile, losses in Europe and South America contributed to decreases in total automotive pre-tax profit and operating margins in the quarter, the company said.

North American unit sales improved 16.9 percent to 761,000 vehicles last quarter, generating revenues that grew 19.9 percent to $22.3 billion. Favorable market factors in North America were offset slightly by higher costs reflecting Ford’s investment in new products and growth, as well as higher pension expenses.

Ford made $1.8 billion in cash contributions to its worldwide funded plans during the quarter as part of its strategy to mitigate risk in its pension obligations.

Ford’s full-year 2013 guidance for North America remains unchanged, with its pre-tax profits expected to be equal to that of 2012.

However, the automaker reported a $462-million pre-tax loss in its European operations, more than triple its $149-million loss in the same period last year. The company also lost $218 million in its South American operations, compared with a $54-million gain a year ago.

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