Earlier this week, Ford said that it expected a $600 million pretax loss in the first quarter, though it wasn’t sure what the tax expenses might be. Ford has now revised its loss figure very much downward.
Ford said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it expects revenue of $34 billion, or about 15 percent less than the $40.3 billion it took in in the first quarter of 2019. The company, along with every other big automaker in America, has had to idle its plants as the coronavirus pandemic has taken hold.
Not that people are out buying cars anyway. What’s interesting is that Ford’s disclosure today wasn’t mandatory, like a lot of SEC filings are.
Ford was not obligated to release the preliminary results, according to a company spokesman. He said it did so because it was a “responsible” thing to do during these unprecedented times. General Motors and Fiat Chrysler have not issued preliminary first-quarter financial results.
GM, in an emailed statement following Ford’s announcement on Monday, said it continues “to work aggressively to strengthen our liquidity” ahead of reporting its earnings on May 6.
Ford will announce its full first-quarter earnings on April 28, around the same time other automakers will. The numbers disclosed Friday also revealed that Ford is trying to get more cash to get through the pandemic. Per Reuters:
The automaker has already suspended its dividend and drawn down more than $15 billion to ride out the damage to its business from the pandemic.
In a regulatory filing Friday, Ford also said it had filed for a debt offering but did not disclose the amount. The company had about $30 billion in cash on its balance sheet as of April 9.
It seems likely that whatever happens in the next few months and years, CEO Jim Hackett’s decision to go all-in on expensive trucks and SUVs—abandoning cars not named Mustang in the process—will be put to the test. As a strong proponent of making huge, possibly stupid bets, I only respect his game.