Ford tops fourth-quarter estimates, guides toward strong 2024

Ford CEO Jim Farley at the company’s Dearborn, Michigan, plant where it’s building the electric F-150 Lightning on April 26, 2022.

CNBC | Michael Wayland

DETROIT — Ford Motor beat Wall Street’s top- and bottom-line expectations for the fourth quarter, while forecasting better-than-expected results for 2024.

The company’s forecast for 2024 includes adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (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.

Analysts forecast Ford’s guidance to be roughly between $9 billion and $11 billion, according to investor notes from several analysts.

The automaker also announced a special dividend of 18 cents per share in addition to a first-quarter regular dividend of 15 cents per share. The dividends are payable March 1 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Feb. 16.

Shares of Ford were up roughly 7% during afterhours trading, adding to a 4.1% increase during trading Tuesday to close at $12.07.

Here’s how Ford did during the fourth quarter compared with what Wall Street expected based on average estimates compiled by LSEG, formerly known as Refinitiv:

  • Earnings: 29 cents per share adjusted vs 14 cents per share adjusted, expected
  • Automotive revenue: $43.2 billion vs $40.12 billion, expected

Overall revenue during the period increased about 4% to $46 billion, up from about $44 billion a year earlier. Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) declined 59% to $1.05 billion from the year-earlier period.

Ford’s 2022 fourth-quarter results included $41.8 billion in automotive revenue, net income of $1.3 billion and adjusted earnings before interest and taxes of $2.6 billion.

Adjusted earnings of Ford’s traditional business, known as Ford Blue, were down about 48% during the fourth quarter compared to a year earlier to $813 million. Its Ford Pro commercial business earned $1.81 billion, up 25% from a year earlier. Ford’s Model e electric vehicle unit posted a $1.57 billion loss from October through December, more than doubling a loss of $631 million during the fourth quarter of 2022.

Ford in November forecast 2023 adjusted EBIT of $10 billion to $10.5 billion, about $1 billion lower than previous guidance in light of contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers union.

Wall Street also will be watching for any additional actions by Ford to offset increasing labor costs due to the new UAW contract, which the company said is expected to cost $8.8 billion over the life of the deal, ending in April 2028.

Ford is expected to face headwinds this year, including lower vehicle prices, warranty costs and continued losses for all-electric vehicles. Bright spots are expected to be its Ford Pro fleet unit and traditional Ford Blue internal combustion engine business.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

— CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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