Ford sees a strong April
The head of the automaker's US business sees rising consumer confidence and higher revenue.
Updated at 1:48 p.m. ET
Ford Motor (F) is "encouraged" by April U.S. sales running ahead of a year earlier and experienced a boost in revenue in the first quarter, the automaker's Americas chief said.
"We're starting to see the economic metrics start to go in the right direction," Americas President Mark Fields said today at an auto-industry breakfast in Detroit. "I'm cautiously optimistic on consumer confidence."
Ford shares were up 0.1% to $12.78 this afternoon.
His comments added to evidence of a rebound in the U.S. auto market after sales slumped to a 27-year low in 2009. Industrywide deliveries rose 24% in March, according to Autodata, and marked a fifth consecutive monthly advance.
"The big question is not so much do we have a recovery, but to what extent and how long will it take?" Fields said.
"Revenues were up" for the quarter, he said without elaborating. Ford may report sales of $28 billion to $30 billion, up from $24.8 billion a year earlier.
Net income for the quarter probably will be $978.8 million, or 30 to 31 cents a share, Bloomberg said. Ford reported a $1.43 billion loss in the first quarter of 2009. The company hasn't said when it will release first-quarter results.
Ford, the only major U.S. automaker to avoid bankruptcy last year, finished the quarter with 17.4% of the domestic market, according to Autodata. The increase of 2.7 percentage points was Ford's largest quarterly gain since the last three months of 1977, Fields said.
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