DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford Motor Co. enjoyed one of the best years in its history in 2013, but the celebration won’t last long.
The Dearborn-based automaker posted a pretax profit of $8.56 billion – the second-highest in the past decade – and worldwide sales were up 12 percent to 6.3 million cars and trucks. That was a faster pace than Toyota, the industry leader, whose sales rose 2 percent to 9.98 million.
But Ford has already warned of leaner results this year as it launches a record 23 vehicles and builds seven plants around the world. It’s anticipating 13 weeks of expensive down time — up from five in 2013 — at its two U.S. pickup truck plants to prepare for the launch of a new aluminum-clad F-150. And instability in South America and price competition in the U.S. are constant threats.
Ford expects pretax profit of between $7 billion and $8 billion, and says its operating margin and cash flow will also fall because of the vehicle-introduction costs. Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks said capital expenditures will total $7.5 billion this year and in the next two to three years, up from $6.6 billion in 2013 and more than twice what it spent four years ago.