DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford posted a strong second-quarter profit Friday, but it trimmed its U.S. sales forecast and predicted weaker results in the second half as the economy slowly recovers.
The automaker surprised Wall Street, making $2.6 billion in the quarter as it continued to grab sales from rivals. Ford's U.S. sales rose 28 percent in the first six months of this year. That's almost double the pace of industrywide sales.
"Overall, our performance this year gives us great confidence going forward," Ford president and chief executive officer Alan Mulally said in a conference call with analysts and media.
For the quarter, Ford earned $2.6 billion, or 61 cents a share. That compared with net income of $2.3 billion, or 69 cents a share, in the same quarter a year ago. Ford's revenue rose to $31.3 billion, beating expectations of $29.8 billion.
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It was Ford's fifth straight quarterly profit, and the No. 2 U.S. automaker predicted a strong 2010 and even better 2011. But it said it will make less money in the second half of this year because of seasonal plant shutdowns, costs for new product launches and rising prices for materials such as aluminum.
The automaker said U.S. sales, which hit a 30-year low in 2009, remain weak, with many shoppers not yet confident enough about the economy to buy new cars. Ford cut its forecast for total U.S. auto sales to a range of 11.5 million to 12 million. The company had predicted sales of 11.5 million to 12.5 million cars and trucks. Ford held its third-quarter production forecast steady at 1.27 million cars and trucks worldwide.
While the company lost some sales in Western Europe, Mulally said, it made up for it with increased sales in India, China, Brazil and the United States.
Helped by brisk sales of the Ford Fusion sedan and F-150 pickup, Ford has gained market share in the United States from Toyota, which was hurt by a series of safety recalls, and General Motors and Chrysler, which were tainted in some buyers' eyes for accepting federal bailout money last year.
Ford ended the quarter with 17.2 percent of the U.S. market, up from 16.9 percent at the end of the first quarter, according to auto information site Edmunds.com.