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Ford keeps rolling as net income jumps, debt eases

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DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. is on a roll. Its popular new cars and trucks are grabbing a bigger share of the U.S. market. It's about to erase a big portion of its health care debts. And Ford is adding a significant number of jobs for the first time in years.

The news puts Ford, which has now turned profits for a year and a half, even further ahead of its Detroit rivals as the American auto industry slowly turns around.

Ford said Tuesday its third-quarter net income rose 68 percent to $1.7 billion, or 43 cents per share, partly because buyers paid more for its highly rated cars and trucks.

CEO Alan Mulally said popular new cars, such as the Ford Fiesta subcompact and Ford Edge wagon, and aggressive cost-cutting helped the company make money despite lower global sales. Through September, Ford's U.S. market share has jumped to 16.7 percent from 15.2 percent in the same period a year earlier, according to AutoData Corp.

The amount customers pay for Ford vehicles has climbed 10 percent in the last five years, to an average of more than $30,500, according to auto web site Edmunds.com. The company also has reduced the amount of incentives it's offering, which lets it make more profit per vehicle, said Lewis Booth, Ford's chief financial officer.


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