Ford Motor Company has recorded its sixth straight quarter of profits and expects to have its net debt down to zero by the end of 2011. Ford was the only domestic auto manufacturer to avoid bankruptcy or take a bailout from the federal government. Notably, Ford’s North American operations are also profitable. According to the New York Times:
“Ford earned $1.6 billion in North America in the quarter, compared with $314 million in the period a year ago. Automotive operations lost $196 million in Europe but were profitable in other regions.
“Revenue declined $1.3 billion to $29 billion, reflecting the sale earlier this year of the company’s Swedish brand, Volvo. Excluding Volvo, now owned by the Chinese carmaker Geely, third-quarter revenue was up $1.7 billion.
“Ford executives said all of the company’s business units would be profitable in the fourth quarter and in 2011.
“Ford said it paid off $2 billion in debt in September and that it planned to pay its remaining obligation to the United Automobile Workers union’s retiree health care trust — $3.6 billion — on Friday, in cash. Ford had not been required to satisfy its debt to the union trust until 2022.”
Notably, one of the reasons for bailing out both GM and Chrysler was to avoid bankruptcy. Of course, those companies went through the bankruptcy process anyway, using the courts to do the hard work that Ford accomplished through hard-nosed corporate leadership, product improvements, and strategic management.