Ford beats Q4 earnings estimates despite EV pullback, hybrid shift

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Ford reported its fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday after the market, beating Q4 revenue and profit estimates. The automaker expects the momentum to continue in 2024 despite pulling back EV investments.

Ford’s fourth-quarter EV sales

Ford sold a record 25,637 EVs in the last three months of 2023 (+24% YOY), edging out rival GM. The F-150 Lightning topped Rivian’s R1T to become the best-selling electric pickup of the year, with 24,165 units handed over.

The Mustang Mach-E was the second best-selling electric SUV in the US behind Tesla’s Model Y with 40,771 models sold, also a record.

Ford’s E-Transit was the best-selling electric van, with 7,672 units sold last year, up 18% from 2022.

Despite the growth, Ford has scaled back EV initiatives. Ford’s CFO, John, said the company is “slowing down several investments,” including around $12 billion in EV spending last year.

Last month, Ford announced it was cutting F-150 Lightning production amid “slower than expected” demand. The production cut is the second in less than five months.

Ford said the move was to “achieve the optimal balance of production, sales growth and profitability.”

Lawler added that Ford is “changing the pace and flow” of capital and EV capacity in November, including plans to scale back production at its Marshall plant by about half.

Rival GM announced last month it was changing its “all in on EVs” strategy to include more PHEVs as it faces growing competition.

Ford Q4 earnings results

Ford posted Q4 revenue of $46 billion, up 4% YOY on favorable net pricing. This tops Wall St estimates of around $43 billion, according to data from Estimize. However, Ford had a net loss of $526 million in the fourth quarter due to a $1.7 billion adjustment for UAW wages.

Fourth quarter adjusted EPS of $0.29 also topped Wall St bottom line estimates of $0.12 per share.

For the full year, Ford’s revenue reached $176 billion, up 11%. Ford’s net income improved to $4.3 billion in 2023, while adjusted EBIT was essentially flat at $10.4 billion.

Ford confirmed plans to defer EV spending with slower-than-expected demand. Despite this, Lawler said ” EVs are here to stay, customer adoption is growing, and their long-term upside is central to
Ford+.”

Ford Q4 Model e earnings (Source: Ford)

Ford’s Model e, electric vehicle segment, saw a net loss of $4.7 billion last year. The automaker said the losses were due to “extremely competitive pricing” and investments for its next-gen EVs.

EV volume was up 20%, driven mainly by the F-150 Lightning. However, operating income slipped to $1.6 billion while EBIT margins fell to -98.2%.

Ford said the growing operating losses are due to lower pricing, higher material costs, and investments in its next-gen EVs.

As Ford built momentum with its services, software subscriptions rose 8% to about 630,000 in Q4. Last year, Ford expanded its BlueCruise ADAS to Great Britain, Germany, and Spain, joining the US and Canada.

Ford 2024 guidance (Source: Ford)

Ford expects its Model e-business to post an operating loss of $5 to $5.5 billion this year as it prepares to launch its next-gen EVs. Overall, Ford expects to post adjusted EBIT of $10B to $12B this year.

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