Ford Motor Co.’s stock was trading down before markets opened Tuesday following a nearly 8 percent drop in share price on Monday after the company said pretax earnings could be as much as 25 percent lower this year than originally expected, at $6 billion. Speaking with investors at the company’s annual meeting on Monday, Ford Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks attributed the downgrade to unexpected losses in South America and Russia, as well as a $500 million charge to fix faulty airbags in about 850,000 cars.
“We know we have challenges in 2014,” CEO Mark Fields said as the company offered a presentation of its long-term goals (pdf).
The Dearborn, Michigan, automaker expects to lose about $1 billion this year in South America thanks to economic troubles in Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela that are driving down regional growth. Geopolitical problems with Russia are causing European sales to decline. Now, instead of breaking even in Europe, Ford expects to lose $250 million next year. The $500 million recall expense involves 2013-2014 model-year Ford C-Max, Fusion, Escape and Lincoln MKZ vehicles in North America.
Company executives painted a prettier picture for the company after next year. It says pretax profit would rise to between $8.5 billion and $9.5 billion. China has a lot to do with that. Ford’s aggressive expansion in the world’s top auto market has led to a 30 percent jump in sales there. The company is planning to introduce 15 new vehicles in China by the end of next year. Ford was trading down slightly on Tuesday at $15.11 per share, below its 52-week high of $18.12.
Monday’s trading losses more than wiped out the company’s gains for the year. Ford will announce its third-quarter earnings in the last week of October. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to report $1.16 billion in net profit, or about 30 cents per share. The company pays a quarterly dividend of 13 cents per share, which was increased from 10 cents paid last fall.