Despite a four-week strike last fall, Ford Motor Co. today reported worldwide record sales and profits for 1976 of $28.8 billion and $983 million respectively.
The Ford results had been widely anticipated and followed by a week General Motors Corp's similar report of a record $2.9 billion profit on worldwide sales of $47.2 billion.
Ford dollar sales were up 20 per cent from 1975's record $24 billion and profits were up 14 per cent from the previous record of $907 million set in 1973.
Total car and truck sales for 1976 were a record 5.3 million compared to the previous 4.6 million set last year.
A joint statement by chairman of the board Henry Ford II and president Lee Iacocca said the 14 per cent rise in profits from 1973 was actually a 14 per cent decrease when measured in constant dollars to eliminate inflation.
The strike by the United Auto Workers against Ford last September and October reduced sales by 438,000 cars and trucks or about $2.1 billion and profits by $348 million, the company said.
A change in accounting practices to the last-in-first-out (LIFO) method reduced profits by another $81 million.
Ford indicated its expected results in a contradictory year when it worked five assembly plants, employing 23,000 blue collar workers, over the Christmas to New Year holiday producing intermediate and larger cars.
A major assembler in those plants, the most common UAW classification, grossed just over $168 for each eight-hour day clocked in that period.
Federal income taxes for 1976 were $731 million, according to Iacocca and Ford.
In their joint statement, the Ford executives said: "The U.S. economy is recovering from the pause that started last summer. In recent months, most leading indicators increased at an accelerated rate, giving us confidence that the recovery will continue through 1977."
They said the company produced 3.5 cents profits on each dollar of sales during 1976, compared with 1.4 cents on each sales dollar in 1975 and 4.0 cents in 1973.
General Motors made the same comparison a week ago, quoting 6.2 cents in after tax profit on the sales dollar in 1976 versus 3.5 cents in 1975 and 6.7 cents in 1973.
Meanwhile, the contradictions of the large car boom over the past year or so and a small car surge that did not happen stand in stark contrast.
Small-car specialist American Motors Corp., still mired in a severe sales slump, is the only U.S. maker failing to share in the industry's latest prosperity. AMC lost $46 million in fiscal 1976 and is not expected to do better than reach break-even this year.
And at GM, the mini-Chevrolet Chevette sold barely half of its anticipated first year volume, following a debut to nationwide acclaim in the fall of 1974.