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Vehicles at the Ford assembly plant in Oakville, Ont.
Vehicles at the Ford assembly plant in Oakville, Ont.
(Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

Ford’s good ride suggests auto cycle is ending

What does the North American automotive market look like at the top? On Wednesday, investors had a glimpse: Shares in Ford Motor Co. fell more than 8 per cent in early trading after the automaker issued a profit warning.

Of course, the decline comes after a remarkable period of recovery. Ford’s quarterly earnings have risen from a loss of $3.89 (U.S.) a share at the depths of the financial crisis and global recession to 44 cents a share in the third quarter of this year. Sales have risen early 48 per cent over this period and the share price has surged 880 per cent – including a 29 per cent gain this year, prior to Wednesday’s sudden retreat.