Tony O'Kane | Sep 24, 2009

FORD PRESIDENT AND CEO Alan Mulally said that he expects to see the American automaker return to profitability in 2011.

With a slowly improving global and US economy, Ford expects to see its US sales rise from 10.5-11 million units this year to 14.5 million units in 2011. This will see Ford's balance sheet back in the black.

In a turnaround of fortune, Ford posted a $US2.3 billion profit in the second quarter of this year, while US sales for August rose 17 percent on the back of the US Government's "Cash For Clunkers" scheme.

Ford however lost US$1.4 billion in the first quarter of 2009 and has accumulated US$30 billion in net losses over the past three years.

Despite these losses, Ford is the only large US automaker to have kept itself out of US Government-supported Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection following the global financial meltdown.

"It is a slower recovery than we have had in the past," Mulally said.

"The fundamental economy coming back is the absolute key - that has to happen before automobiles start to really move back.

"The guidance we have given overall - because we continue to invest in new products - is that we will be profitable in 2011."

"When we look out the next 20 years, we see about one-third of all vehicles being purchased in the Asia-Pacific region," Mulally said.

2010_ford_figo_02

Ford yesterday revealed the Fiesta-based Figo small car in India, a car which it hopes will sell in large volumes in the subcontinent as well as across South-East Asia.

The Figo will be built at Ford's Chennai assembly plant in India, which has recently been upgraded to handle an annual output of 200,000 cars.

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