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Ford Q4 Profits Ahead Of Market Expectations

Good news from Ford as the Detroit motor giant announced profits for the last quarter of 2012 which were ahead of market expectations. After tax earnings for the three months to December 2012 came in at approximately £1 billion. This was up an impressive 55% on the same period in 2011.

Good news from Ford as the Detroit motor giant announced profits for the last quarter of 2012 which were ahead of market expectations. After tax earnings for the three months to December 2012 came in at approximately £1 billion. This was up an impressive 55% on the same period in 2011. Worldwide revenues rose by 5% but the US firm pointed out that this was largely driven by a 13% rise across the North America region. In 2012 Ford's North American business unit in fact had its most profitable fourth quarter and the most profitable year, since they started separate reporting of the region's performance back in 2000.

 
Closer to home though, the picture is not so rosy. Ford stated that its European business is slated to lose around €2 billion, which is greater than previously expected. Europe is also dragging its heels in terms of total car sales. Overall 2012 represented the best year for car sales since the financial crisis started but sales in Europe actually dropped by around 8%. Against this background, Ford continues to downsize its European businesses. Consequently the car maker is incurring losses from redundancy payments, factory closures and other asset write-offs. These costs have so far proved to be greater than anticipated, due in part to the relatively high value of the Euro. Ford has also slightly pared back its European sales forecast for 2013.
 
Elsewhere, Jaguar Land Rover announced profits would be slightly lower than in recent quarters. The news depressed share values of Indian owner Tata, with its share price on the Mumbai exchange dropping by 6%. Jaguar did however counter this news by saying that revenues would actually be higher. The British car maker pointed out that retail sales for October-December 2012 were 88,658 units with wholesale figures of 94,828. Both figures represent improvements on the previous two quarters.
 
China appears to be a particularly promising area for the luxury marque. Sales across the company's range have risen by 80% in China during the past year. As a result Jaguar Land Rover plans to continue to expand its dealer network there, with 30% growth planned for 2013. The company said it also plans to look at expanding manufacturing into China and also look at manufacturing possibilities in other territories. Progress towards this goal in China has already taken a major step forward with the company announcing a deal with Chery Automobile to build a factory near Shanghai. The plant is scheduled to open in 2015.

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