The Ford Motor Co. reported Thursday that net income for 2014 plunged 56 percent from the previous year as the automaker struggled with high product costs, lower volume and troubles in its international operations.
For the year, Ford said it earned $3.19 billion, down from $7.18 billion in net income during 2013, and its global revenue fell 2 percent from the year before.
Ford introduced two dozen new vehicles last year, including a revamped version of America’s top-selling vehicle, the F-series pickup, made at its Claycomo plant and a plant in Michigan. The introductions were expensive and cost Ford sales during the changeover. For 2014, the company said it sold 6.32 million vehicles, down from 6.33 million the year before.
Ford’s results translated into average profit-sharing checks of $6,900 for the company’s 50,000 union workers in the United States, a decrease from the $8,800 payments that members of the United Auto Workers union received last year, based on 2013 results.
Ford chief executive Mark Fields said that although the company faced difficulties last year, expenses for new vehicles and factories in markets such as China were necessary for longer-term success.
The year “was a solid yet challenging year for Ford, with our investments and a record number of new products launched around the world positioning us for strong growth this year and beyond,” Fields said.
The fourth quarter was particularly challenging for Ford, which is second to General Motors among U.S. auto companies. Ford’s net income was $52 million in the quarter, a huge decrease from the $3.07 billion it earned a year ago.
Despite cost pressure and lower sales, Ford’s operations in North America continued to be the bright spot. Pretax profit in North America was $1.55 billion in the fourth quarter, down from $1.8 billion a year earlier. For all of 2014, Ford posted pretax profit of $6.9 billion in the region, compared with $8.8 billion the previous year.
The company said that it expected stronger results overall this year and that pretax profit should return to 2013 levels or exceed them.