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Ford CEO Touts ‘Tremendous’ Growth Plan


After Ford missed annual revenue estimates by a nickel, CEO Alan Mulally on Friday sounded confident that the company was well on the road to stronger profitability by mid-decade.

“I think that we have a great plan in the United States and Europe and also a tremendous growth plan in Asia-Pacific that’s just coming on line now,” he said. “We’ve shared all the elements of that plan.”

Ford Misses Estimates; Europe to Blame?

Mulally said Ford was planning to offer “a full family of best-in-class vehicles,” which will be based on fewer platforms and will use 60 to 70 percent of similar plans in an effort to cut costs in its global operations.

“That, with our supply base, absolutely we have the room to deliver on that expansion,” he said on “Fast Money.”

Mulally dismissed the notion that Ford had hit a plateau.

Ford announced pre-tax operating profit of $8.8 billion for 2011, making it the company’s most profitable year since 1999. Headwinds included a weak European economy, which accounted for a $190 million loss; rising commodity costs, $2.3 billion higher; and a slight decline it its operating margin.

Mulally acknowledged the challenges and said the company was shifting its approach to deal with them.

“Clearly we’ve continued to restructure our business, our foreign business in Europe for a number of years now. Up until this year, we’ve been profitable for eight years,” he said. “Of course with the slowdown going so fast, it hurt us in the fourth quarter and the year. But based on our restructuring and the business itself — plus the new products, on the revenue side, we have a number of new global platforms coming in, which people are really going to want.”

Ford shares declined 4.16 percent to close at $12.21.

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