Coming off the brink of disaster for the auto industry, Ford says it earned a profit of $2.7 billion in 2009, its first full-year profit since 2005.
This came after a fourth-quarter earnings report of $868 million, Ford’s third consecutive quarterly profit. Surprising shareholders, the media and many analysts, the situation is a far cry from 2008, when Ford was $14.6 billion in the red.
How much of that success was propped up by government programs like Cash for Clunkers will remain debatable, but Ford has already said it expects to turn a similar profit in 2010, beating its goal to return to profitability by 2011. With the economy slowly on the mend, Ford could take advantage of its decision not to take Treasury money and cash in on the halo around its brand.
What this profit means for workers is a restored profit-sharing agreement with the United Auto Workers. Each of its 43,000 eligible hourly workers will receive $450, and salary workers will reap the benefits of restored merit pay increases and 401(k) matches that were halted during the automaker’s down years.