Ford drives ahead with $2.6bn profit

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The Independent Online

Ford Motor posted a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit of $2.6bn (£1.7bn) and said it was on track for higher earnings and lower debt in 2011.

The No 2 US car-maker lowered the top end of its range for US auto industry sales for 2010, citing in part a slow but sustainable recovery in the US economy.

"We delivered a very strong second quarter and first half of 2010 and are ahead of where we thought we would be despite the still-challenging business conditions," said the chief executive, Alan Mulally.

Ford trimmed its automotive debt by $7bn in the second quarter and it expects to further reduce its debt. It ended the quarter with $27.3bn of automotive debt. Ford, the only large US car-maker to avoid bankruptcy in 2009, borrowed more than $23bn in 2006 to fund its turnaround, leaving it with a heavier debt load than rivals General Motors and Chrysler.

Ford cut the top of its US auto industry sales forecast for 2010. It expects industrywide sales of 11.5 million to 12 million vehicles, including medium and heavy trucks, down from a prior forecast of 11.5 million to 12.5 million. It expects to increase its US market share in 2010.

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