Ford beats estimates on revenue, but affirms 2017 outlook as 'generally lower' than last year

Ford CEO on Q4 earnings

Ford Motor on Thursday reported fourth-quarter earnings that matched Wall Street estimates and revenue that exceeded expectations.

The automaker earned an adjusted 30 cents per share on automotive revenue of $36 billion.

"It was a very, very good year for the company," Ford CEO Mark Fields told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Thursday. He admitted the company saw "a little bit of a pullback … because we're making investments in emerging opportunities that will help grow the company going forward."

The year was Ford's second-best ever in terms of full-year adjusted pretax company profits, driven by key regions like North America, Europe and China, which boosted the company's margins and topped profit and sales records, Fields said.

Fields added that this week's meeting of the Big 3 U.S. automakers with President Donald Trump was productive and encouraging, but that Ford has the "appropriate amount" of assembly plants in the United States despite Trump's calls for expanding manufacturing here.

The company sees 2017 guidance as consistent with previous forecasts, and affirms this year's outlook as "generally lower" than 2016.

— CNBC's Phil Lebeau contributed to this report.