Ford fourth-quarter earnings forecast on Wednesday that was below analysts’ expectations, sending shares down slightly in US premarket trading. Photo: AP

INTERNATIONAL - Ford Motor Co gave a fourth-quarter earnings forecast on Wednesday that was below analysts’ expectations, sending shares down slightly in US premarket trading.

The No. 2 US automaker said it could see improvement in 2019 earnings and revenue as global industry sales remained flat, but did not provide any figures.

“For 2019, we see the potential for year-over-year improvement in company revenue, EBIT and adjusted operating cash flow,” Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks said in a statement.

“For 2019, we expect to be able to fully fund our business needs, while maintaining cash and liquidity levels at or above our target levels,” he said.

Still, Ford saw headwinds for the year ahead, citing tariffs and high commodity costs, both of which also impacted its 2018 earnings. The details on the outlook were contained in slides just ahead of a presentation by Ford early on Wednesday at a Deutsche Bank conference in conjunction with the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Helping the company will be new product rollouts, including the Ford Ranger pickup truck and Explorer sport utility vehicle, its restructuring initiatives, a recovery in China and the redesign of its money-losing European operations.

Last week, Ford’s larger US rival, General Motors Co said it expected higher profits in 2019, offering an estimated range that was far stronger than Wall Street analysts had forecast.

Ford said it expects 2018 adjusted earnings of $1.30 a share on revenue of $160.3 billion. In October, the Detroit area automaker said it expected to earn in the range of $1.30 to $1.50 per share while analysts were expecting $1.33 per share, Refinitiv IBES data showed.

For the fourth quarter, Ford expects adjusted earnings of 30 cents a share, below the 32 cents analysts were expecting.

On Tuesday, Ford and Germany’s Volkswagen AG said they would join forces on commercial vans and pickups and were exploring joint development of electric and self-driving technology in a bid to save the automakers billions of dollars.

Shares of Ford fell 0.6 percent to $8.79 in light premarket trading.

Reuters