Ford Q4 earnings preview: 2024 profit outlook, updated EV/hybrid gameplan key items to watch

Ford (F) is on deck to report results for the fourth quarter and the full year after the bell on Tuesday, with its changing EV game plan in focus as the company shifts to hybrid production. The results come after GM reported strong results and profit guidance that indicated strength in the overall US auto sector.

For the quarter, Ford is expected to report top line revenue of $40.35 billion as compiled by Bloomberg, a result that would be 3.5% lower than a year ago as the effects of the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike lingered in early Q4. In terms of profitability, the consensus estimate is for Ford to report adjusted EPS of $0.13, on adjusted EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) of $988.2 million.

Last year Ford divided into business units — Ford Blue for the traditional gas-powered business, Ford Model e for the EV division, and Ford Pro for its commercial and super duty truck business. Per Bloomberg consensus:

  • Ford Blue is slated to report $24.52 billion in revenue, with EBIT of $866.5 million

  • Model e is expected to bring in $1.91 billion in revenue, with an EBIT loss of $1.34 billion

  • Ford Pro at $13.86 billion in revenue, with EBIT of $1.43 billion

In terms of guidance, Ford reinstated its 2023 profit outlook following the ratification of its labor deal with the UAW. Ford said it anticipated full-year 2023 adjusted EBIT of $10.0 billion to $10.5 billion, and said this figure would include $1.7 billion in strike-related lost profits.

With GM issuing 2024 profit guidance that matched its initial pre-UAW strike outlook for 2023, investors will be watching to see if Ford can do the same, or even improve. Prior to the strike, Ford saw its 2023 profit outlook at $11 billion to $12 billion.

In focus is Ford’s Model e EV business, one that has seen significant changes over the last year as growth in the business has slowed. Last quarter, Ford CFO John Lawler said the company would “push out” $12 billion in EV investments when that capacity is needed. Ford also delayed the construction of its new battery plant in Michigan (which would use licensed technology from China’s CATL), and scaled back battery’s output. The factory is still scheduled to open in 2026.

Earlier in January Ford moved 1,400 workers off F-150 Lightning EV production and cut a shift as the company adjusted supply to what appears to be slowing demand for the strongly reviewed, but steeply priced, for the EV pickup. “We continue to see growth, just at a slower pace. We’re adjusting to that growth,” Ford Model e spokesperson Martin Günsberg said to Yahoo Finance.

Unsold 2024 F150 Raptor pickup truck sits at a Ford dealership Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024, in Broomfield, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Ford also saw declining sales of its EVs in January of this year, with EV sales dropping over 10%, mainly led by decreasing sales of the Mustang Mach-E, which lost federal EV tax credit eligibility on January 1st. The company did see overall auto sales climb, however, with hybrid sales jumping over 40%. Ford has said it will push to bring more hybrids to the market to meet customer demand.

Ford’s strength in January was a continuation of what the automaker was seeing in 2023 as well. Last month the company reported US total sales jumped 7.1% to approximately 1,995,912 vehicles, making 2023 the Dearborn-based automaker’s best year since 2020. Ford noted strong sales in its trucks business, with 1,081,777 trucks and vans sold in 2023 — up 13%. Across its nameplates, Ford saw noted growth in the Bronco Sport (up 28.1%), Edge (up 24.1%), and Lincoln Navigator (up 32.9%), among others.

Ford’s sales of hybrids and EVs were also a highlight, with sales up 25.3% and 17.9% in 2023, respectively.

Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.

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