Ford earned $1.4 billion in the first quarter -- a bit ahead of analyst expectations, but down from a year earlier. North American sales powered the profit, while Europe's crisis-wracked economy held every automaker back on the Continent.
Shares of Ford fell sharply on Friday after the company reported a quarterly result below analysts' $0.26 a share expectations: $1.1 billion, or $0.20 a share. But despite the disappointing profit number, Ford's core business is actually in great shape.
Are things really that bad at Ford? You'd think so after its third-quarter earnings report drove its share price down sharply. But despite the tough economic conditions Ford faces, the larger story is that the automaker has become very strong, thanks to its focus on a surprisingly simple plan.