Ford sees best profit in 11 years

Ford has reported a profit of $6.6bn (£4.1bn) in 2010 – its best performance in more than a decade.

Sales volumes climbed by 20% as the US carmaker credited an improving economy for increased demand for its F-Series pickup trucks.

Meanwhile, sales by value rose by 3% to $120.9bn.

The results represented Ford’s second consecutive annual profit – with more than twice its 2009 earnings – but still came in below market forecasts.

The company said it had made money in every region including Europe, where last year it lost money.

‘Strong products’

Ford is the only major US carmaker that did not take a government bail-out.

And the last time it achieved such a large profit was in 1999.

“This was Ford’s highest net income in more than 10 years, as strong products and new investments fuelled improvements in all of the company’s business operations around the world,” said the Michigan-based company.

The 2010 results included $853m in charges for reducing the company’s debt.

Ford also wrote off $339m charge for discontinuing the Mercury brand.

Observers say that the demand for Ford’s pick-ups was no surprise, with 4×4 vehicles more fuel-efficient than they used to be.

Also, since petrol prices in the US have dropped to a national average of about $3 a gallon, driving such vehicles has become much more affordable.

“The revival of the American people’s love affair with the gas-guzzler has been good news for Ford and America’s other two big carmakers – General Motors and Chrysler,” says BBC business reporter Jorn Madslien.

Last year, more than half the vehicles sold in the US were trucks. – Bbcnews