Ford Lost $3.1 Billion in the First Quarter

By | April 27, 2022

Ford Motor said on Wednesday that it lost $3.1 billion in the first three months of the year because of a sharp drop in the stock price of Rivian, an electric vehicle start-up that Ford has taken a stake in. Ford was also hurt by slowing sales stemming from an ongoing shortage of computer chips.

Without taking in account the decline in its shares in Rivian, Ford said it made $2.3 billion before interest and taxes, down from $3.9 billion a year earlier. Its net profit in the first quarter of 2021 was $3.3 billion.

Ford’s chief financial officer, John Lawler, said the company was seeing strong demand for its sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks but could not produce enough of them. “We didn’t have enough chips to build the vehicles customers wanted and couldn’t take full advantage of our manufacturing capacity,” he said in a conference call.

Ford said its revenue in the first quarter fell to $34.5 billion, from $36.2 billion a year earlier. The company sold 966,000 vehicles in the first quarter, down from 1.1 million a year ago. Higher prices for new vehicles have helped Ford and other automakers offset some of the impact of lower sales.

The company’s performance stood in contrast to two big competitors. On Tuesday, General Motors reported a $2.9 billion profit for the first quarter, and last week, Tesla said it made $3.3 billion.

Mr. Lawler said Ford was taking steps to increase its supply of semiconductors and expected its rate of production to improve over the course of the year. It is also counting on rapid growth in sales of electric vehicles. The automaker, which recently started making an electric version of its F-150 pickup truck, aims to make 600,000 electric cars and trucks a year by the end of 2023.

Ford said its outlook for 2022 was unchanged, and it expects a full-year profit of $11.5 billion to $12.5 billion before taxes and certain other expenses. Earlier this year it predicted that it would see “significantly higher profit in North America” ​​in 2022 and that global sales would decline slightly in the first quarter but rise 10 percent to 15 percent over the full year.

Ford invested $500 million in Rivian in 2019, and the start-up’s shares rose sharply after an initial public stock offering last fall. Its stock was trading at about $100 at the end of 2021 but has fallen to around $31 as Rivian has struggled to ramp up production of an electric pickup truck, an electric SUV and a delivery van for Amazon.

To reflect that drop in Rivian’s share price, Ford took a noncash charge against its profit, Mr. Lawler said.

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