Ford fighting fit for any crisis: finance chief

14th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Ford Motor Company is in good enough shape to weather whatever any possible new economic crisis throws at it, chief financial officer Lewis Booth said.

"I don't know exactly what's round the corner. I do know that on a longer-term basis, there's good growth in the business," Booth told reporters at a dinner late on Tuesday on the sidelines of the IAA motor show.

"And I'm confident that the way we're running the business, we'll get through whatever's around the corner, good or bad."

Over the past five years, management had "fundamentally restructured the company and lowered our break-evens so that we can be profitable at historically low levels of demand," Booth said.

Between 2006 and 2009, the second-largest US automaker had gone from losing money at industry-wide sales in the US of 17 million vehicles per year to breaking even at 10.6 million units.

"And we're (now) making $8.3 billion (6.1 billion euros) at an 11.8-million-unit industry," he said.

Ford was convinced demand would start rising again, the finance chief said.

"We know that pent-up demand is building in the US. We know that vehicles are getting older at a much faster rate than they've done in the past and we know that consumers would like to do something about this when they're a bit more confident."

But Ford was not running its business in the hope of industry-wide demand returning to around 15 million units per year.

"We're running the company to be profitable at the current demand levels and be ready for when industry increases. If industry decreases, we'll respond accordingly," Booth said.

Ford sold a total 2.9 million vehicles in the first six months of 2011, when net profit rose by 5.7 percent to $4.949 billion on a 15.5-percent increase in revenues to $68.6 billion.

© 2011 AFP

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