Ford tops first-quarter earnings estimates as commercial unit offsets EV losses

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The Ford display at the New York International Auto Show on March 28, 2024. 
Danielle DeVries | CNBC

DETROIT — Ford Motor is announcing first-quarter earnings after the markets close Wednesday.

Here is what Wall Street expects, based on average analyst estimates compiled by LSEG:

  • Earnings per share: 42 cents adjusted
  • Automotive revenue: $40.10 billion

Those results would mark a 2.6% increase in revenue compared to a year earlier and a 32.9% decline in adjusted earnings per share. Ford’s first-quarter 2023 results included $39.09 billion in revenue; net income of $1.8 billion, or 44 cents per share; and adjusted earnings before interest and taxes of $3.38 billion.

The automaker’s 2024 guidance released in February included adjusted earnings before interest and taxes, or EBIT, of between $10 billion and $12 billion; adjusted free cash flow of $6 billion to $7 billion; and capital spending of $8 billion to $9.5 billion.

There is less consensus on Wall Street around Ford’s performance than there was for its crosstown rival General Motors, which on Tuesday reported strong first-quarter results and raised its full-year guidance. Ford is Morgan Stanley’s “top pick,” but others on Wall Street are less bullish on the company.

“While we do like Ford relative to suppliers, we also continue to prefer GM relative to [Ford],” UBS analyst Joseph Spak said in an investor note earlier this month.

Ford has faced years of inflated warranty costs, including $1.9 billion in 2023, which have affected its earnings. The company last year said it has a $7 billion to $8 billion annual disadvantage compared to traditional rivals due to production costs, quality issues and other operational inefficiencies.

Investors will be watching for improvements in those areas as well as progress in CEO Jim Farley’s “Ford+” restructuring plan, which was first announced in 2021, and any additional updates or delays to its all-electric vehicle plans.

— CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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