Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) on Thursday posted record net income and operating margins for the first quarter, thanks to strong sales of sport utility vehicles and pickups in North America and solid profits in Europe and China.
Net income more than doubled in the first quarter. The company said that first-quarter net income were $2.45 billion, or 61 cents per diluted share, compared with $1.3 billion, or 29 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding certain items, earnings for the quarter ended in March 31 were 68 cents a share. The result beat analysts’ estimates. Analysts had projected earnings to be 48 cents a share in the period.
Ford’s revenue increased 11 percent to $37.7 billion, up from $33.9 billion in the same period a year ago.
The record results are driven by the robust demand for Ford’s F-Series pickups and SUVs like the Explorer and the Flex in North America. The company said that U.S. sales rose 8.4 percent in the first quarter and the operating profits in North America were nearly doubled to $3.1 billion
Solid profits in Europe and growth in China also help boost net income. Ford’s European sales rose 8.5 percent to 363,500 vehicles. Pretax quarterly profit was $434 million in Europe, compared with a $42 million loss last year. In the Asia-Pacific region, pretax profit was $220 million, up from $105 million last year. Ford’s sales in China grew 14 percent to 314,454 vehicles.
Ford shares jump 4 percent to $14.20 at 1:51 p.m. in New York.