Alan Mulally: FoMoCo would’ve been profitable even without Cash for Clunkers

Alan Mulally on the Ford Display at 2009 NAIAS

FoMoCo’s CEO Alan Mulally said that its surprise third-quarter profit “absolutely” would have happened even without the Cash for Clunkers incentive.

“It was a good stimulus,” Mulally told Automotive News. “But the real strength of the third quarter is based on the strength of our product line improving.”

Mulally wouldn’t say whether the Dearborn automaker expects to post a fourth-quarter profit, but the company does expect a second quarter positive cash flow. Ford, which burned through cash for the past two years, posted positive automotive operating cash flow of $1.3 billion in the third-quarter.

Ford amended its forecast for 2011, saying it expected to be “solidly profitable” excluding special items. Mulally said that he plans to provide guidance for 2010 in January when Ford announces its year-end 2009 results.

“The reason that we were cautious on 2010 is that we are assessing, like everybody is, what is the strength of the recovery in the near term,” Mulally said.

– By: Stephen Calogera