BY CHRONICLE STAFF
While Ford's global revenues are falling and losses are growing, South America is providing some badly-needed help.
South America revenues reached $8.6 billion last year, an increase of 13.2 percent from 2007. That compares with a 25.3 percent decline in North America and a 7.1 percent fall in the Asia Pacific Africa division.
Meanwhile, profits grew by 4.9 percent to $1.2 billion last year. By comparison, its North America division lost $5.8 billion, while the Asia Pacific Africa division lost $153 million. South America also surpassed the $1 billion profits in Europe, making it the most profitable region worldwide.
UNIT SALES FALL
The financial growth came despite a 0.9 percent decline in unit sales to 432,000 last year. However, those numbers also compare favorably to other regions. North America unit sales fell by 19.4 percent, while unit sales in Europe declined by 5.1 percent and in the Asia Pacific Africa division by 13.3 percent.
In the fourth quarter, Ford's sales in South America declined by 29.2 percent to $1.7 billion, while pre-tax profits fell by 74.9 percent to $105 million.
Despite the profit decline, South America stands out positively. It's the only region worldwide where Ford made a profit - in contrast to losses in North America of $1.9 billion, in Europe of $330 million and in the Asia Pacific Africa division of $208 million.
Meanwhile, Ford's South America unit sales fell by 23 percent in the fourth quarter to 97,000. That was in line with a 22 percent drop in Europe, but better than the 28.9 percent decline in North America and 31.7 percent fall in the Asia Pacific Africa division.
General Motors has not yet released revenue figures for 2008, but it reported strong South America unit sales earlier this month. Last year, GM posted an all-time sales record in its Latin America, Africa and Middle East (GM LAAM) region. Vehicle sales grew by 3.2 percent to 1.3 million, while its market share increased to 17.1 percent for the year. South America accounts for most of the sales in the LAAM division.
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