Its earnings missed Wall Street’s expectations, while revenue beat. Its shares fell 3 percent in premarket trading. Ford’s first-quarter net income fell 39 percent to $989 million, or 24 cents per share, down from $1.64 billion, or 41 cents per share, in the January-March period a year ago. That was far short of Wall Street’s expectations. Analysts polled by FactSet forecast earnings of 31 cents per share.
Revenue rose slightly to $35.9 billion, beating analysts’ expectations for $34.2 billion. Worldwide sales were up 6 percent to nearly 1.6 million. Ford’s U.S. sales fell 3 percent to 580,260 in the January-March period, the victim of bad weather and low buyer interest in smaller, fuel efficient cars like the Focus and C-Max hybrid.
While the F-Series pickup continued to see gains, sales of other key vehicles like the Fusion sedan and Escape SUV were down. In China, first-quarter sales soared 45 percent to 271,321 vehicles, while European sales were up 11 percent to 326,000.
Ford’s North American operations were hit with $100 million in weather-related charges during the brutal winter, including increased costs for parts shipments. The company also set aside $400 million for its warranty reserves for the repair of prior models. North American pretax profit fell 37 percent to $1.5 billion.
Dearborn-based Ford enjoyed one of the best years in its history in 2013, with a pretax profit of $8.56 billion. But it has already warned that this year will be leaner as it launches a record 23 vehicles and builds seven plants around the world.
It’s anticipating 13 weeks of expensive down time — up from five in 2013 — at its two U.S. pickup truck plants to prepare for the launch of a new aluminum-clad F-150. The truck goes on sale later this year. Ford says it still expects a full-year pretax profit between $7 billion and $8 billion.
Its shares fell 48 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $15.84 in early premarket trading.