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Ford Motor Co. made $2 billion in the first three months of 2004, blowing past Wall Street's expectations and showing the strongest signs yet the company is returning to health.

“This is the best quarter we have achieved since we began our back-to-basics efforts more than two years ago, and it clearly demonstrates our plan is working and building momentum,” said Bill Ford Jr., Ford's chairman and chief executive.

The $2 billion in profit translated to 94 cents per share, more than double the 45 cents per share Ford made in the first quarter of 2003. A consensus of industry analysts projected the automaker would tally less than $1 billion in the first three months of this year.

Keying Ford's strong performance was an increase in overall revenue to $44.7 billion in the first quarter compared to $40.8 in the same period last year.

Ford's worldwide car and truck business tallied $1.8 billion in the first quarter, up from $1.1 billion a year ago. The automaker's performance was especially strong in North America, where it made $1.96 billion.

In South America and Europe, Ford turned losses from a year ago into slight profits. The company achieved similar reversals at its Premier Automotive Group -- its collection of European luxury brands that includes Jaguar and Volvo -- and in the Asia-Pacific region
http://www.detnews.com/2004/autosinsider/0...utos-129364.htm
 

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Originally posted by stewacide@Apr 21 2004, 07:35 PM
Prediction: they buy Lotus within the year.
Maybe: Lotus' new corporate parent, Proton (Malaysia) is searching everywhere for cash. I say as they become more desperate they will sell it to somebody. With Ford owning Jaguar and Land Rover already, adding Lotus will make three in the UK, four in PAG (including Volvo)

EDIT (Thanks Stew :) AND Austin Martin) /EDIT
 

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You're forgetting Aston Martin :D

Ford has a definate thing for small, quirky, distinct brands with strong identities - ESPECIALLY if they're British - and with Proton coming apart I'd say Ford picking up Lotus is a near certainty. The Elise and coming "Esprit" have zero overlap with anything they do (which is something considering how huge FoMoCos lineup has gotten).

I mean, why do with one or two brands under one design roof what you can do with 10 totally seperate ones? :bounce:

I also wouldn't be surprised to see them take Subaru if profits keep on this vector (likely with all the new products coming out). You can bet the guys at Scooby are sh*tting themselves watchng what GM is doing to Saab, and if GM ever makes a move on their independence they'll be knocking Ford's door down. How much of FHI does GM own now anyways? I have no idea why they they bought it...
 

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If Ford was smart they'd avoid getting a weird sports car band and focus on buying an established Asian brand for the future growth of China, and while they're at it maybe they could close the deal and get 51% of Mazda.
 

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Originally posted by frenstall@Apr 22 2004, 01:52 AM
If Ford was smart they'd avoid getting a weird sports car band and focus on buying an established Asian brand for the future growth of China, and while they're at it maybe they could close the deal and get 51% of Mazda.
I agree. I don't think Ford needs to go buying a sports car line or any other car company yet. Ford still needs to build up more strength and replenish its cash situation. It can then (when it is healthy) put itself into position to buy a company that can get Ford more exposure in China and the Far East.

BMW and VW have been waved around, but I don't think Ford needs to even think about them in the first place. There is still too much on the plate for Ford right now. BMW is very tempting, but I would hold off. I don't think I'd touch VW even with its large size and exposure. Ford has enough problems fixing its own quality let alone fix VW's.

I think Ford picked up some of the better European brands and now it is time to start focusing on the Far East.
 

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Regulators would never let Ford buy VW or BMW anyways. And it doesn't seem to be in their strategy to aquire any regional (e.g. Chinese) brands like GM does. Their China (and every other country) strategy is just to push the global brands they have now.

And Lotus wouldn't cost much (a hundred million?), and they'd realize big synergies with Jaguar as far as aluminum construction, and Mazda with a lot of sports car bits. Lotus has great cars people want to buy and will pay a fair price for - they just can't make a profit at it without the economies of scale, which is where Ford comes in. It obviously wouldn't be a big money maker, but it'd be another prestigious marquis to hang on the PAG door and an outlet for their engineers.

If they wanted to make a big play on developing markets Yamaha with its small-engine technology but lack of a car outlet could make a good buy, but Ford seems to have written off the entry level entirely anyways (e.g. they don't bother to compete with GM and the Koreans anymore).
 

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IF GM had a brain it A) wouldn't of sold Lotus in the first place and B ) would buy back lotus off proton. It would be a great marque for them to angle at aston martin. Saab covers jaguar and you have the esprit replacement against the aston and the elise as a bargain lotus so to speak. Plus I forgot to mention all the suspension tuning knowledge lotus has and its abilities with composites etc.

Lotus would be a good buy for GM.
 

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Originally posted by stewacide+Apr 21 2004, 11:32 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (stewacide @ Apr 21 2004, 11:32 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-TiburonJT@Apr 22 2004, 03:43 AM
Should Ford increase its share of Mazda when they already have a controlling interest (33.4 or 34%)?
If they expect it to be profitable of course. [/b][/quote]
I think there is something to be said for keeping the ownership at its current level.

Mazda is like Holden or Subaru (or Isuzu was). They provide engineering and innovation that might not be possible if they were fully owned by Ford.

Look at Saab. Who is making their 9-2? Subaru. You won't see Saab making any Subarus any time soon. That's because Subaru can stand on its own merits, and Saab, as evidenced by its 9-2 and 9-7, is becoming a rebadge/platform sharer, now that it is fully owned by GM.

Ford buying Mazda out would only subject them to the same policy decisions and slow-moving decsion making that plagues big companies.

Allowed to operate with some level of independence, Mazda can offer Ford far more.
 

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Ford already controlls Mazda to the same extend it controlls Volvo, Land Rover, etc. - which is to say they let them do their own thing as long as their mindful of costs and fully leverage the corp' parts bin. A merger wouldn't change that - it'd just allow them to get the full benefit out of what I'm sure they think is a company with a bright future. Clearly they don't intend to "pump and dump" Mazda for its technology or brand like GM does so often.

And I hope GM lets Subaru stand on its own. I really can't imagine what technology they could get from them (horizontal engines? awd? turbos? I don't think GM is in need of any of that), and there doesn't seem to be much or any parts shareing.
 

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Apparently, the magic number in Japan to control the board of a company is 33.4%, which Ford has in Mazda. I see no benefit in raising that stake.

With that in mind, and in light of the fact that GM controls less than that in its stakes of Suzuki, Subaru (i.e., Fuji Heavy Industries), and Isuzu, and in light of Wagoner's statements for the past several years about not acquiring majority stakes in any other automaker, I don't think we'll be seeing GM interfering with the business of its affiliates or any other auto company. So, I agree with AJR et al. in basically stating that both Ford and GM have more than enough on their plates in terms of car brands to turn around. They certainly don't have the cash or time, and they shouldn't have the inclination, to take on another car company. Hopefully, GM's appetite for acquisitions has turned sour after the Fiat fiasco. Perhaps Ford, too, has learned from its crosstown rival?! The "rumors" that GM has been in talks with Proton to buy Lotus are frankly disturbing to me. Focus, GM!

Incidentally, VW is not necessarily invulnerable to takeover. A 1960 German law under which VW was privatized capped a shareholder's voting rights to 20%, even if the shareholder owned a greater percentage of the company. I understand that other German companies operate under similar law. The EU's internal market commissioner, Frits Bolkestein, is challenging this law, and if it's not changed, the EU may slap Germany/VW with hefty fines. I feel turn around is fair play. If Daimler-Benz could buy Chrysler in 1998, then Citigroup should be able to buy Deutche Bank, Walmart should be able to buy Aldi, et cetera. Then again, maybe the law is fortuitous; can you imagine trying to meld VW's culture with GM's? Yikes!

If it's a matter of antitrust concerns, I would hardly consider the takeover of VW as a cause of concern for competition in Europe.
 

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Mazda is like Holden or Subaru (or Isuzu was). They provide engineering and innovation that might not be possible if they were fully owned by Ford.



Holden is part of GM, it has been owned by GM since before WWII.



GM sold Lotus, but it still does some engineering work with them, the economies of scale for GM and Lotus werent right in the late 1980's, GM makes about as many cars in a month as Lotus has made in it's entire existence, pehaps now that GM has been able to improve it's niche manufacturing, i.e Kappa, it might be time to look into Lotus, I would like to see what Lotus could do with the Kappa platform, perhaps some add some aluminum to reduce weight, also the Kappa is the right size and shape for a modern day Lotus Elan.
 

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Interesting and most of their new autos the Mustang, 500, Futura, the Mercs and Lincolns are not even out yet. Interesting.
 

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Originally posted by yoblues@Apr 22 2004, 08:37 PM
Interesting and most of their new autos the Mustang, 500, Futura, the Mercs and Lincolns are not even out yet. Interesting.
That just goes to show just how much cost cutting and productivity gains Ford has made over the last two years. Add the profits from good F-150 sales you get a good picture of their recovery.

IMO, Ford is still in recovery but they are at the end of it. They will certainly explode (in a good way) when the Mustang, 500, Freestyle, and reskinned Focus hit the market. They are also setting themselves up for future success by latching onto Hybrid cars. Their is going to be a big market for those in the near future IMO.

All that said, I think Ford shouldn't look to buy anyone. They did a damn good job when they bought Volvo, but they are still having major teething problems with the Land Rover and Jaguar aquisitions. Ford may be on the road to fixing Land Rovers problems but Jag sales are still a problem, especially in Europe. IMO, Ford doesn't need to buy anyone else for the forseeable future.

I bought a $1000 of Ford stock the week I saw the Mustang Concept. I've upped it to nearly a $5000 investment since then. So far, so good! Now I'm just waiting on my TAX FREE dividend check :D
 

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Originally posted by Sgt Beavis@Apr 23 2004, 01:36 AM
I bought a $1000 of Ford stock the week I saw the Mustang Concept.  I've upped it to nearly a $5000 investment since then.  So far, so good!  Now I'm just waiting on my TAX FREE dividend check :D
Damn you,(actually good job) Now Im jellious.. I knew this opertunity would come and I missed it with my conciounce thinking theirs no way in he11 this would happen of Course! (Speaking of investing in the Ford stock that I missed out on) :( Oh well
 
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