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Ford 2011 Profits Best Since 1999

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(Credit: David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

(Credit: David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

jeffgilbert Jeff Gilbert
Automotive reporter for WWJ Newsradio 950 and CBS Radio News....
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DEARBORN — (WWJ) Ford posted some big profits in 2011, boosted by one time gains. The bottom line number was $20.2 billion, with an operating profit of $8.8 billion.

Whatever number you choose, it was Ford’s best showing since 1999.

“A really good year, dealing with the challenges of Europe and Asia-Pacific, especially the Japanese tsunami and earthquake,” said CEO Alan Mulally, in a live interview with WWJ AutoBeat Reporter Jeff Gilbert.

INTERVIEW: Ford CEO Alan Mulally talks with WWJ AutoBeat Reporter Jeff Gilbert.

Losses in those two parts of the world dragged down Ford’s fourth quarter performance. It posted an operating profit of $1.1 billion. While that was less than analysts expected, it was Ford’s 11th consecutive quarterly profit.

Mulally expects the earnings to continue in 2012.

“2012 is looking pretty good. We think we’ll expand the market in the U.S,” he said. “We expect the U.S. economy to grow.”

A $6.2 billion dollar profit in North America, means profit sharing checks of $6200 for workers. Those workers received checks averaging $3750 in December, and will receive another payment of $2450 in March.

“The fact that we are growing and we’re getting a chance to share the results with everybody is part of the plan,” said Mulally.

“Despite the facts that some analysts think they missed their targets, they still had a very good year and a good fourth quarterm” said Michelle Krebs with Edmunds.com. “Sales are up, Their average transaction prices are up.”

Edmunds.com estimates that the average Ford vehicle sold for $32,028 in 2011.

While Ford, and the entire industry will face increase costs in 2012, and an economic slowdown in Europe, Krebs points out that 2012 will also see a lot of new products in Ford showrooms.

“The Ford fusion is just a knock-out, and they’ll have more capacity coming on when they add on the Flat Rock plant,” she said, adding that Ford will also have new versions of the Escape, Flex and Taurus, and several redone Lincoln products.

For CEO Alan Mulally, Ford’s turnaround is a team effort.

“This is the time to celebrate the power, and value of working together.”

Connect with Jeff Gilbert
Email: jdgilbert@cbs.com
Twitter: @jefferygilbert
Facebook: facebook.com/carchronicles

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