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Ford Motor Co. on Wednesday posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit on strong U.S. demand for pickups and SUVs, and forecast a full-year pretax profit instead of a loss, sending shares up nearly 6 per cent in after-hours trading.

Ford reported net income in the third quarter of US$2.4-billion, or 60 US cents a share, compared with US$400-million, or 11 US cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, Ford’s profit was US$3.6-billion, or 65 US cents a share, topping the 19 US cents analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected.

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The company said it anticipates better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings before interest and taxes of between break-even and a US$500-million loss, as well as “positive full-year 2020 adjusted EBIT.”

Ford said in July that it expected a pretax profit of between US$500-million and US$1.5-billion in the third quarter and a loss for the fourth quarter as well as for the full year.

The automaker fully repaid US$15-billion in revolving credit loans and ended the quarter with nearly US$30-billion in cash and more than US$45-billion of liquidity.

The company’s adjusted EBIT margin in the quarter was 9.7 per cent, with a full-year target of 8 per cent. Ford’s net margin in the period was 6.4 per cent.

Earlier on Wednesday, Italian-American automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV reported that its operating profit rose 26 per cent to a record €2.544-billion (about $4-billion) in North America, with a record 13.8-per-cent margin.

Ford said fourth-quarter launches of key new products – a redesigned F-150 pickup, the Mustang Mach-E SUV and Bronco Sport SUV – remain “on track.”

Ford shares were up 5.7 per cent at US$8.15 in extended trading.

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“We saw much higher demand than we expected,” chief financial officer John Lawler told reporters on a conference call. “We also saw higher net pricing, particularly in North America.”

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