Alan Mulally has glimpsed Ford's future, and he likes what he sees.
In a presentation to financial analysts in New York City, Ford's president and CEO said the automaker is poised to gain more momentum over the next few years. Mulally said Ford expects its annual worldwide sales to increase by approximately 50% to about 8 million vehicles by the middle of the decade, with improved operating margins. The automaker expects industrywide vehicle sales to grow substantially over that same time period. "Ford is a growing company operating in a growing global automotive market," Mulally said. "Through our One Ford plan, we are increasing our product investments to meet this growing demand with a full family of best-in-class products." Much of Ford's growth opportunity will be driven by accelerated expansion in the developing markets, recovery in mature markets and sales of smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles, according to the company. By mid-decade, Ford expects:
- Its vehicle sales will increase approximately 50% to about 8 million units -- from 5.3 million units in 2010.
- Global automotive operating margins will increase to 8% to 9%, from 6.1% in 2010.
- Capital spending will average about $6 billion annually through mid-decade, an increase from $3.9 billion in capital spending in 2010.
- Total automotive debt will be reduced to about $10 billion, down from $16.6 billion as of March 31 and from $33.6 billion at the end of 2009.
- The company will return to investment-grade in the near-term, and resume paying dividends at an appropriate level of after-tax earnings.