Ford CFO Robert Shanks’ StockTwits Q&A Transcript

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Last week, Ford Motor Company announced Q1 earnings results on StockTwits and CFO Robert Shanks fielded questions from the StockTwits community. The following is Mr. Shanks’ answers to the best questions submitted.


@Cristi: Have you considered paying an insurance company to take over pension obligations? They’re very good at estimating life expectancies…

At this point no. Embarked on strategy to de-risk pension obligations. Going well. On track. Q1, contributed $1.8 billion to our global funded pension plans. Also, our voluntary salaried retiree lump sum payment program is ongoing. Will wrap it up by the end of the year.

@ToddSullivan: Asia SAAR is now >2x size of US yet you have 1/5 the share. How fast can you close the gap and increase production?

Love Asia. Q1 APA market share up 30%. Ford China set record with 3.6% market share. Up full percentage point from Q1 last year.  Launching 7 new plants in Asia by 2015 – 5 in China with JVs; 2 in India. Will have capacity to produce almost 3 million vehicles by mid-decade. Also by 2015: will launch 15 new vehicles in China. Really excited about growth in Asia.

@ToddSullivan: EU at SAAR of 13.3M now. When your restructuring efforts there are done, will Ford EU be profitable at that level?

As reported, guidance on EU is unchanged. On track with our EU Transformation plan. Goal is to return to profitability in EU by mid-decade.

@scheplick: I’m curious, what impact does the devaluation of the Yen have on Ford? What plans are in place to take advantage of the weakening Yen?

Starting to see some selected actions from Japanese OEMs, may be related to weakening yen. Will monitor competitive actions closely.  I believe exchange rates should be determined in the marketplace, not by governments.

@Smalls_62: China expansion plans: Pace of Chongqing expansion/completion, Hangzhou pace and any possibility of early completion before end of 2014?

We call our Chongqing facilities CQ. CQ1 & CQ2 at max capacity now. CQ3 with 300,000 annual capacity opens late 2014. CQ Engine 400,000 units comes on line later this year; CQ Powertrain 400,000 unit capacity on line 2014. Plan is fastest and largest Ford growth plan in more than 50 years. Doubling our capacity in China by 2015.

@1nvestor: My parents are looking to change from a car to the Edge. Are you seeing that trend in older generations (easier in/out)?

AWESOME! No, we are attracting buyers of all ages with one of freshest product line-ups in the industry. Note to your parents: Test Drive – and all new Escape too. I’m getting one. Wonderful vehicle.

@jwimmer42: Why does your stock price never properly reflect news or earnings?

Appreciate the question; we do not run the business based on stock price – focus is on executing our ONE FORD plan. Over time, the market will recognize the value we are generating.

@rechtsteiner: Number of quarters before we see hybrid vehicle sales from Ford outnumbering non-hybrid vehicles?

Q1: Of about 600,000 U.S. sales, sold 21,000 hybrids. So, 3 months hybrid sales = about 1 month of Escape sales. Going to be a while, if ever. Fuel-efficient minded customers have many options with our power of choice plan.


On behalf of the StockTwits community, many thanks to Mr. Shanks as well as to Karen Untereker from Ford for facilitating this dialogue. And thank you for all the participants who submitted questions.

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~ Sean McLaughlin (@chicagosean)

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