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Ford makes profits again

The crisis-ridden u.S. Carmaker ford has been able to turn around the wheel. Last year, the company earned money again for the first time since 2005. The bottom line was 2.7 billion dollars. Ford had massively reduced its costs and was able to take market share away from the competition with fresh models. "2009 was a closing year for ford", said group ceo alan mulally on thursday at the company’s headquarters in dearborn (us state of michigan). The year before, ford had still posted a record loss of 14.8 billion dollars. Analysts spoke of a mature performance by the group’s management. Ford also wants to stay in the black this year. The share price rose by almost 2 percent ahead of schedule.

Ford has thus come through the economic crisis much better than its domestic rivals general motors and chrysler. The chronically loss-making rivals both had to file for insolvency last year, from which they only emerged with massive government financial aid. Ford, on the other hand, was able to post profits again by the middle of the year. This was achieved, among other things, by a range of more compact cars.

But ford also had to pay tribute to the economic crisis and the resulting reluctance of customers to buy: sales fell by almost a fifth in 2009 to $118.3 billion. However, the situation eased toward the end of the year. In the final quarter, ford was able to generate $35.4 billion, 6 percent more than in the same period last year. Profit at the bottom line was 868 million euros.

Mulally, who had come from the aircraft manufacturer boeing, had adapted the company to the new market conditions at an early stage. He introduced smaller and more fuel-efficient cars at the same time as fuel prices began to rise. On the cost side, mulally also took action. He cut tens of thousands of jobs and closed entire plants. He forced the unions to make concessions on health care spending and pensions. Mulally turned the two british luxury brands jaguar and land rover into money, as well as the swedish subsidiary volvo.

Meanwhile, ford is hiring again. Just days ago, the company announced it would create 1200 jobs at its chicago plant. The existing workforce can look forward to a share of the profits.

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