Ford’s third-quarter profit drops amid Europe losses image

Ford Motor Company announced its third-quarter profit slipped 1.1 percent, as its North America unit achieved record earnings that offset higher taxes and losses in Europe.

Ford reported its 14th consecutive profitable quarter, with net income of $1.63 billion, compared with $1.65 billion a year earlier. Ford CEO Alan Mulally is attempting to restructure the carmaker’s European business by adapting the strategy that worked in the U.S.

Ford had a pretax operating loss of $468 million in Europe in the third quarter, up from $306 million a year earlier. In the first half of this year, the automaker lost $553 million in Europe and expects deficits of more than $1.5 billion this year and again in 2013.

While its European arm is making losses, Ford’s North America unit generated most of the company’s sales and profits. The automaker reported record pretax operating income of $2.3 billion, up from $1.6 billion in the same quarter last year. Ford said its operating margin in North America was 12 percent in the third-quarter. Ford’s results were lifted by higher prices and a $400 million improvement on commodity hedges.

“This the third quarter in a row where we earned over $2 billion and the third quarter in a row with an operating margin over 10 percent. The story isn’t just the results in the quarter, but the consistency,” said Ford chief financial officer Bob Shanks.