Ford flexes smaller muscles

Ford Motor Co. announced its highest quarterly profit margin since 1998, and it did so not with its historic array of light trucks and SUVs, but with smaller passenger cars that get better fuel mileage.

That’s good news for the only major U.S. auto company that didn’t file for bankruptcy or accept federal bailout money when the recession hit. The fact that the company was able to make substantial profits on smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles is particularly good news as gasoline prices continue to climb.

In the past, the Big Three automakers didn’t concentrate on smaller cars, because they made little or even lost money on them. But Ford’s success with models such as the Focus demonstrates that Americans will buy U.S.-made small cars if they are dependable, perform well and have sufficient creature comforts.

Ford’s earnings are welcome news for the company and the U.S. economy in general.


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