Troubles in Ford Motor Co.'s home market - including a massive recall and the difficult launch of new heavy-duty pickups - are hurting the company's bottom line.
Ford said Thursday its net income plunged 56 percent to $957 million in the third quarter, down from $2.2 billion in the July-September period a year ago. The earnings, of 24 cents per share, compared to earnings of 55 cents per share in the July-September period a year ago. Adjusted earnings of 26 cents per share - which exclude one-time items - beat Wall Street's forecast of 20 cents, according to analysts polled by FactSet.
North America, with its record-setting U.S. sales and love affair with profitable SUVs and pickups, has been Ford's cash cow in recent years. But as U.S. sales peak, Ford is feeling the effects. Ford's North American sales were down 11 percent in the quarter, and revenue dropped 8 percent. The company has already announced temporary closures of four North American plants this month to bring production in line with demand.
"What's happening to the company is really about what's happening in North America," Ford Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks said.
And it's likely to keep happening. Ford has said it still expects a full-year pretax profit of $10.2 billion, but that's down from its initial forecast of $10.8 billion because of the recall. Ford has said its profits will likely fall next year before rebounding in 2018.