DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) -- Ford Motor Co. reported better-than-expected second quarter earnings and raised its profit and sales forecasts for the year as strong U.S. pickup truck demand and growing sales in China offset persistent — but narrowing — losses in Europe.
Its shares rose almost 3 percent in premarket trading.
Ford earned $1.2 billion in the April-June period, propelled by a $2.3 billion profit in North America. U.S. pickup truck sales have jumped 22 percent in the first six months of this year, or nearly three times the pace of total industry sales. That benefits Ford, whose best-selling vehicle in the U.S. is the F-Series pickup.
Ford also reported a best-ever profit of $177 million in Asia. Ford's sales jumped 47 percent in China the first six months of this year, or more than four times faster than total industry sales growth of 17 percent, as the company introduced popular new vehicles like the EcoSport and Kuga SUVs.
Ford raised its forecast based on the April-June results. The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker now expects its full-year pretax profit to be equal to or better than the $8 billion it reported a year ago. Previously the company had expected to match that profit.
Ford also expects sales in the U.S., Europe and China to be in the upper end of its previous forecasts.
In Europe, Ford narrowed its expected full-year loss to $1.8 billion from $2 billion. The company lost $348 million in Europe in the second quarter, which was $56 million better than a year ago.
Ford's earnings amounted to 30 cents per share in the latest quarter, the same as a year ago. Without one-time items, including separation payments in Europe, where Ford is closing several plants, the company earned 45 cents per share. That surpassed analysts' forecast of 37 cents, according to FactSet.
Revenue was up 14 percent to $38.1 billion, beating analysts' forecasts of $34.9 billion.
Its shares rose 48 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $17.42 in premarket trading.