Ford Ranger Raptor.

Despite encountering significant production challenges, including a six-week United Auto Workers (UAW) strike that severely impacted its manufacturing capabilities, Ford reported a steady adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of $10.4 billion for 2023, mirroring its performance in 2022 and showing a slight improvement over 2021's $10 billion.

This stability in earnings comes against a backdrop of increased revenue, with the Michigan-based automaker posting a figure of $176.2 billion for 2023, up from $158 billion in the preceding year. The fourth quarter of 2023 saw Ford achieving revenues of $46 billion, compared to $44 billion a year ago.

Operating cash flow stood at $14.9 billion for the year, with an adjusted free cash flow of $6.8 billion, surpassing the guidance provided to Wall Street.

Ford CEO Jim Farley attributed this success to the company's diverse range of products spanning gas, hybrid and electric vehicles, brought to life by the Ford+ plan and the diligent efforts of the Ford team.

However, the road was not without its bumps. The fourth quarter of 2023 saw a net income loss of $526 million, compared to the $1.3 billion netted in the same period in 2022. The full-year figures painted a rosier picture, with a net income of $4.3 billion compared to a loss of $2 billion in 2022. This loss in the fourth quarter was attributed to special items, including an accounting loss related to pension re-measurement.

The UAW strike had a pronounced impact on Ford's production line, particularly affecting the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, responsible for the Ford Bronco and Ranger models. The resultant production halt led to a dramatic 92% drop in Ranger sales in the fourth quarter, with just 831 trucks sold compared to the usual 20,000 to 30,000 units. Bronco sales also took a hit, plummeting by 54% to just over 14,000 units.

The strikes extended to the Chicago Assembly and Kentucky Truck Plant, further disrupting the production of key models like the Ford Explorer, Police Interceptor, Lincoln Aviator and Super Duty pickup trucks.

Despite these challenges, Ford managed a 1% sales increase in the U.S. during the fourth quarter, selling 484,458 vehicles, though this was below the market's 8% growth. The Bronco Sport and electric Mustang Mach-E, both manufactured in Mexico and thus unaffected by the strikes, saw significant sales increases.

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