Ford is still losing money, but a good performance by its credit arm helped the manufacturer reduce its debt substantially in the fourth quarter of 2002.

Ford is still losing money, but a good performance by its credit arm helped the manufacturer reduce its debt substantially in the fourth quarter of 2002.

In the fourth quarter, Ford's net loss totalled R1,1 billion compared with a net loss of R71,1 billion in the same period in 2001. The company said its automotive unit lost R1,71 billion in the latest quarter, a 76 per cent improvement over the same period in 2001. Ford Credit increased its earnings by 15 per cent to R12,4 billion for the full year.

Revenue for 2002 was R1 460 billion, up just under one per cent from R1 447 billion a year ago. Vehicle unit sales were 6 980 000, down slightly from 7 008 000 in 2001.

Ford's worldwide automotive operations posted a loss of R4,8 billion, compared with a loss of R17,6 billion in 2001. Worldwide automotive revenue was R1 209,6 billion, an increase of nearly three per cent compared with a year ago.

Ford lost money during the last quarter in part because of spending to streamline manufacturing operations in Europe and to lay off workers overseas at its Jaguar, Volvo and Land Rover businesses.

"In the first year of our turnaround, Ford improved its operating results by about R15,3 billion," said chairman and chief executive Bill Ford. "Our earnings performance demonstrates that we are making solid progress toward the goals outlined in our Revitalisation Plan. In 2002, we exceeded nearly all our commitments and are on track to reach our mid-decade target of an annual R63 billion pre-tax operating profit."

"Now, as we move into 2003, we are accelerating our efforts. As we just demonstrated at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, we have a lot of exciting new products coming and we are well on our way to the

product-led recovery we've been talking about for the last 12 months," said Ford.

Ford said it will introduce an all-new F-150 pickup truck with five differentiated series. In addition, Ford will introduce new minivans for the Ford and Mercury brands in North America, the Ford Transit Connect (commercial vehicle) and the Ford StreetKa (Ford's first European two-seat roadster) in Europe, and an all-new Jaguar XJ sedan. The first units of the Ford GT high-performance sports car will be produced this year.

Original article from Car