Ford loses $3.1 billion, hit by investment and chip shortage
DALLAS — Ford Motor Co. reported Wednesday that it lost $3.1 billion in the first quarter, weighed down by its investment in an electric-vehicle startup, and its revenue slid as a shortage of chips limited the supply of pickups and SUVs in North America.
Company executives pointed away from the loss and toward results that excluded the lower value of its stake in Rivian. Ford said that it made $2.3 billion in pretax profit and is still on track to hit its full-year target for that measurement.
Ford said it sold 966,000 vehicles in the first quarter, down 9% from a year earlier.
Chief Financial Officer John Lawler said the quarter produced mixed results.
“Clearly the demand for our new products is very strong,” Lawler said, “yet we continue to have issues with supply of chips, which constrained us, and in particular here in North America, it hit us disproportionately on our large vehicles.”
The chip shortage has caused Ford and General Motors to close multiple North American factories for a week or two at a time, including plants that build popular full-size pickups.
Ford executives said they also faced inflationary pressure from suppliers, but have been able to recover that in higher vehicles prices. They said additional increases were possible if inflation continues to run high.
The company said this week that it has built about 2,000 copies of its new electric pickup, the F-150 Lightning, at a plant near Detroit and would begin delivering them to customers. The truck is critical to Ford’s hopes of gaining a bigger share of electric-vehicle sales.
CEO Jim Farley said Wednesday that buyers of the F-150 Lightning are generally not traditional truck owners.
“The customer profile is dramatically younger. It’s in states like California and New York that we normally don’t sell full-size trucks,” he said on a call with analysts.
The appeal of electric vehicles to younger consumers helped drive investor interest in Rivian. Ford’s 12% stake was worth more than $10 billion after the startup’s IPO in November. But after nearly touching $180, the shares have since tumbled — they closed Wednesday at $31.22 — dragging down the value of Ford’s stake.
Ford’s loss contrasted with General Motors, which reported a $2.94 billion quarterly profit on Tuesday.
The first-quarter loss of $3.11 billion compared with a profit of $3.26 billion in the same period last year. Revenue skidded 9% lower that a year ago, to $34.48 billion. Ford said it earned 38 cents a share in the latest quarter after adjusting to exclude one-time items.
Analysts expected Ford to earn an adjusted 37 cents per share on revenue of $34.53 billion, according to a FactSet survey.
The company based in Dearborn, Michigan, stood by its target of achieving full-year earnings before interest and taxes of $11.5 billion to $12.5 billion.
Ford’s shares rose about 1% in after-hours trading after gaining 1% during the regular session.
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