The news, following reveals this month of the Escape and Lincoln Corsair crossovers, highlights arguably one of the best stretches for the company since Hackett assumed control nearly two years ago. Executives say it’s proof the company is making the correct decisions under Hackett’s $11 billion global restructuring.
“If you do the right things, you make the tough calls, you allocate capital the right way, you be mindful of your costs, you think about your customers … it does take time, but goodness comes from that,” CFO Bob Shanks told reporters. “It all starts to accumulate; it’s like a rolling stone.”
There is still some short-term financial pain related to the restructuring. Ford’s first-quarter net income fell 34 percent to $1.15 billion, largely due to one-time charges from production cuts, layoffs and other actions in some of its troubled overseas business units.
Globally, revenue fell 4 percent to $40.3 billion and profit margins declined 1.3 percentage points to 2.8 percent.
But its North American profit rose 14 percent to $2.21 billion, and margins rose almost a full point to 8.7 percent, notable progress toward the 10 percent goal Hackett has set. Results also improved in China, the Middle East and Africa but declined in Europe, South America and the rest of Asia Pacific.
Shanks said the first quarter would be the strongest of the year as Ford prepares for a slew of new model changeovers, including the arrival of a redesigned Explorer, later in the year.
“It’s the beginning of the game, not game over,” Shanks said. “We feel very encouraged by the start to the year.”