Ford posts stellar first quarter, boosted by fleet and legacy truck divisions

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Ford Mustang on display at the NY Auto Show, April 6, 2023.
Scott Mlyn | CNBC

DETROIT — Ford Motor is set to report its first-quarter earnings after the bell Tuesday. Here’s what Wall Street is expecting, according to Refinitiv consensus estimates:

  • Adjusted earnings per share: 41 cents
  • Automotive revenue: $36.08

Those results would mark a year-over-year increase of 12.4% in automotive revenue, as the automaker’s operations stabilize from supply chain problems that have impacted production in recent years.

Ford has previously issued guidance for this year of adjusted earnings between $9 billion and $11 billion and roughly $6 billion in adjusted free cash flow. Ford said it plans to have capital expenditures of between $8 billion and $9 billion in 2023.

This quarter, Ford is reporting its financial results by business unit, instead of by region, for the first time. The Detroit automaker released revised results for 2021 and 2022, including billions in losses on electric vehicles that Ford said could reach as much as $3 billion this year.

Wall Street will be closely monitoring the automaker’s EV unit, known as Model e, in addition to any comments on EV pricing following Tesla price changes. Automakers are attempting to balance growth and losses/profits when it comes to EVs.

Ford on Tuesday said it would again cut the starting prices of its electric Mustang Mach-E by thousands of dollars, as it increases production and reopens order banks for the crossover.

Analysts will also be monitoring how earnings from the automaker’s traditional vehicle business, known as Ford Blue, are trending and any progress on “execution issues” that were outlined earlier this year by Ford CEO Jim Farley.

There’s additional pressure on Ford’s first-quarter results after crosstown rival General Motors last week raised key guidance for 2023 and reported results that topped Wall Street’s top- and bottom-line forecasts.

GM raised its adjusted earnings expectations to a range of $11 billion to $13 billion, or $6.35 to $7.35 a share and expectations for adjusted automotive free cash flow to between $5.5 billion and $7.5 billion.

— CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

This is a developing story. Please check back for additional details.

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