Ford hangs tough amid the turmoil
The automaker has shown impressive growth that could lead to huge gains in 2010.
Don't get me wrong. Things are still bleak right now for some automakers. Detroit giants GM and Chrysler are on the verge of collapse after filing for bankruptcy protection and accepting billions in government aid. Just last week, the U.S. Treasury said it will inject an additional $3.8 billion into the troubled financial branch of General Motors, GMAC, on top of the $12.5 billion that the U.S. Treasury poured into the troubled company. Meanwhile, Chrysler announced it has no intention of repaying its $3.7 billion loan from the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
But these problems at GM and Chrysler just prove the contrast between the weak automakers and the strong ones -- like Ford (F).
I know there's no shortage of opinions out there on this auto stock, so let me explain in detail why I think Ford is such a good buy.
First, Ford took no taxpayer bailout funds and has no money to repay. Ford has avoided the stigma of a bankrupt brand or the headaches caused by fears over the validity of warranties. The company streamlined its payroll and operations during the recession and is really cashing in now that its market share is growing and fellow U.S. automakers continue to lose ground.
Just look at the recent earnings performance of Ford, and you can see the clear upward trend for this company.
The third quarter marked Ford's first quarterly profit since the beginning of 2008. I see this as a clear sign of a turnaround. This is the start of a strong trend of growth that investors can believe in.
The naysayers may be saying that consumer spending remains relatively weak and that Ford shares will continue to suffer, but don't believe it. The December auto sales released on Tuesday show continued growth for Ford as it eats into the market share of its competitors. Ford reported an increase of 32% in its sales for December compared to last year, while GM and Chrysler reported significant drops.
What's more, auto sales in general are growing. Yesterday's final figure of about 1 million vehicles sold in December marks the second-best month of 2009 after August, showing that the industry is looking up for the New Year.
So in a nutshell, Ford is raking in a bigger percentage of sales even as total vehicle sales are growing. That's a recipe for huge profits in 2010, and as the company continues to grow market share and consumers open their checkbooks once more, we could see a sustained rally for Ford that lasts for many months to come.
Ford will report its fourth-quarter earnings at the end of January, and I expect another strong showing. My analysis indicates that a number of Wall Street experts have revised their estimates for the company higher, which typically indicates a stock is going to top forecasts.
(Now that GM and Chrysler are bankrupt and hemorrhaging sales, a select group of auto stocks will step into the void to gain market share and see huge growth in 2010. Read "Gear Up for Big Profits in These Auto Stocks" for the complete list.)
At the time of this writing, Louis Navellier owned shares of Ford in personal or client portfolios.
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The solid report comes a month after the retailer closed all of its Canadian operations.
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