Ford surges to record profit
DEARBORN, USA - Booming North American car and truck sales boosted profits at Ford Motor Co. by 73 percent to $1.81 billion in the final quarter of last year. For full-year 1999, Ford posted an after-tax profit of $7.23 billion - a record result for a carmaker.
However, there were worse-than-expected results from Europe and South America, where Ford lost $55 million and $95 million respectively in the fourth quarter. Ford has trimmed its losses in the two regions - but not by enough, said financial analysts. In the same period in 1998, Ford lost $74 million in Europe and $151 million in South America.
For the year, Ford's European profits slumped from $193 million to $28 million. That was in spite of revenues increasing from $24 billion to $30 billion as a result of the acquisitions of Volvo Car Corp. and car parts group Kwik-Fit.
'Our results in Europe and South America are unacceptable,' said Ford Chief Executive Jac Nasser. 'But we are making product investments that will deliver more hits such as the Focus.'
Auto parts division Visteon earned $95 million in the fourth quarter, down from $129 million a year earlier.
New car financing boosts D/C's debis
BERLIN - DaimlerChrysler AG's financial services unit, DaimlerChrysler Services (debis) AG, posted a 30 percent gain in revenue last year, to $13.1 billion. The largest portion of that revenue, $10.0 billion, came from financing new cars.
GM earnings take a tumble
DETROIT - General Motors Corp.'s fourth-quarter earnings fell 34 percent to $1.25 billion, but the company still beat Wall Street estimates.
GM said earnings were hurt by lower production of cars and trucks, and an unfavorable model mix due to full-size sport-utility startups in North America.
Earnings from European automotive operations dropped to $30 million from $146 million. GM's Vauxhall unit in the UK was barely in profit.
'All automotive regions face continuing competitive pressures,' the company said.
GM's total sales and revenues rose to $46.3 billion from $44.6 billion.