Ford Motor Co reported a better-than-expected quarterly net profit yesterday, driven largely by US sales of its high-margin pickup trucks, and said it would begin to test self-driving cars in some cities next year.
A large part of the company’s profits came from its F-Series pickup trucks, which have been the best-selling vehicle in North America for decades.
Ford said the average transaction price for its trucks rose $2,800 to $45,400.
The company redesigned its larger F-series Super Duty pickups a year ago, and recently updated its standard F-150 trucks for model year 2018.
Ford said its North American margin rose to 8.1% from 5.8% a year earlier.
Earlier this week, GM reported a third-quarter margin for North America of 8.3%. Ford plans to begin testing self-driving vehicles in some cities in 2018, chief executive Officer Jim Hackett disclosed on an earnings call with analysts yesterday, but gave no details. Ford also is developing new business partnerships with unnamed companies to use its self-driving vehicles in commercial applications other than ride hailing, Hackett said.
He declined to confirm whether Ford still planned to put those vehicles into service by 2021, executives have said.
Ford said it had lower engineering, advertising and promotion expenses than in the third quarter.
The second largest US automaker posted a quarterly net profit of $1.56bn, or 39 cents per share, up more than 60% from $960mn, or 24 cents, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, Ford reported earnings per share of 43 cents, above Wall Street expectations of 32 cents. Revenue rose to $36.45bn from $35.94bn a year earlier.
Ford said it now expects full-year earnings in a range of $1.75 to $1.85 per share.
Previously it had looked for $1.65 to $1.85.