Ford profits fall in first quarter

The front of the 2015 Ford Mustang 50 Year Limited Edition Ford's sales in North America fell by 3% in the first quarter

Ford has reported a 39% drop in first-quarter profits as its performance in the key North American market weakened.

The carmaker earned $989m in the January to March period, down from $1.64bn a year before.

Profits in North America fell to $1.5bn from $2.4bn in 2013, with sales volumes in the region down by 3%.

Ford also set aside $400m to boost its reserve fund that deals with vehicle warranty issues, such as safety recalls and dealing with customer complaints.

Chief financial officer Bob Shanks said the boosting of such contingency funds was normal across the car industry, as vehicles became more complex.

New models

Ford boss Alan Mulally said it had been a "solid quarter", as the firm prepared for "the most aggressive product launch schedule in its history",

The company is launching a record 23 new vehicles globally in 2014.

Overall revenue for the first quarter rose slightly to $35.9bn, and it sold 1.6 million vehicles in the three months, a rise of 6%.

Ford said it had increased its market share in China, and in the Asia Pacific region it reported profits of $291m compared with a loss of $28m

In Europe, it reduced losses to $194m from a deficit of $425m a year earlier.

Currency devaluations in Venezuela and Argentina meant losses in the South American region widened to $510m from $218m last year

Profits in the Middle East and Africa rose 15% to $54m.

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