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Ford reports flat quarterly profit

Problems in Europe are undercutting Ford Motor Co.’s strong performance in North America.

Paul Sakuma/Associated Press

Problems in Europe are undercutting Ford Motor Co.’s strong performance in North America.

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. posted flat third-quarter profit as heavy losses in Europe continued to undercut its strong performance in North America.

Ford, the second-largest US automaker, earned $1.63 billion in the quarter, compared to $1.64 billion in the same period last year. Its global revenue was $32.1 billion, down from $33.1 billion in the third quarter of 2011.

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In Europe, the auto market has fallen to its lowest sales levels in nearly 20 years.

Ford said its pretax profit in North America increased to $2.32 billion in the quarter from $1.55 billion a year earlier. The results were driven by new vehicles like the Escape SUV and higher prices.

But its European operations floundered because of lower sales and higher incentives. Ford reported a pretax loss of $468 million in the region, compared to a pretax loss of $306 million in the third quarter last year.

Ford has lost more than $1 billion in Europe so far this year and expects its full-year loss to top $1.5 billion. Last week, the company said it will close three factories in the region and eliminate 5,700 jobs.

Ford’s other regional operations contributed little to its bottom line during the quarter. The company said it earned $45 million in pretax profit in Asia, compared to a $43 million loss a year ago. Pretax profit in South America fell to $9 million, down from $276 million a year ago.

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