Ford trims 2017 profit forecast over credit arm

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. on Thursday lowered its 2017 adjusted pre-tax profit estimate, citing an expected $300 million reduction to its Ford Credit business over previous guidance a few months ago.

Ford, in a regulatory filing, said it expected Ford Credit adjusted pre-tax profits would total about $1.5 billion in 2017 due to lower used-car auction values. Ford in September said it expected its Ford Credit subsidiary would make about $1.8 billion in 2017.

“The focus of the reduction in auction values had been in small vehicles and small utilities,” said Ford Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks in a forum for analysts and investors Thursday. “It’s now starting to spread to other vehicles as well.”

The automaker expects to continue to take in more vehicles at the end of their leases, and prices being paid at auctions for those used vehicles is declining. About 200,000 vehicles are coming off lease this year at Ford, the company said, and it expects more next year.

Shanks said Ford expects its core business to improve next year and in 2018.

The Dearborn-based automaker reaffirmed it expects the company’s overall adjusted pre-tax profit will fall in 2017 from the $10.2 billion it expects to earn this year as it invests in emerging opportunities. Ford this fall lowered its adjusted pre-tax profit outlook for 2016 by $600 million due to a recall.

It predicts profits will improve in 2018.

Ford stock was trading down less than 1 percent in trading Thursday morning.

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