Ford just had its worst day in a year and a half

Ford just had its worst day in a year and a half
William Walker/CNN

Ford isn’t happy with its performance. Investors aren’t, either.

The stock fell almost 7% on Wednesday after the company issued a disappointing profit forecast. Ford warned that it expects a $1.6 billion hit from the rising cost of steel, aluminum and other metals and from volatile currency rates.

In North America, Ford is moving away from less profitable lines of passenger cars and doubling down on popular trucks, vans and SUVs, said James D. Farley, the company’s president of global markets. But it will be at least two years before the company’s turnaround plans take full effect.

“We are not satisfied with our performance,” Robert Shanks, the chief financial officer, told the Deutsche Bank Global Auto Industry Conference.

It was the worst day for Ford stock since July 2016.

Adam Jonas, an analyst who covers autos for Morgan Stanley, praised Ford for the disclosure but said it was too short on details.

“The message we are left with is akin to ‘we’re working on some big projects and the numbers are significant … but please be patient while we put the pieces together,'” he wrote in a note.

General Motors, on the other hand, “demonstrates a more ‘air tight’ message,” he said.

GM said on Tuesday that it expects strong earnings this year. CEO Mary Barra said the company is becoming more “focused, resilient and profitable,” and expects an even better year in 2019.

Ultimately, Jonas warned against buying Ford stock. “We see scope for Ford’s narrative to change,” Jonas said, “but not yet.”

Ford has promised to modernize its operation, but slowly.

The company is working on electric cars, but it expects internal combustion engines to share the market with hybrid and electric cars until at least 2030.

Last year, Ford said it plans to cut $14 billion in costs. Over the next five years, Ford will reduce its spending on materials by $10 billion and engineering costs by $4 billion. It will also reduce by 25% the time it takes to get new cars and trucks from the idea stage to vehicles in dealerships.

–CNNMoney’s Peter Valdes-Dapena contributed reporting to this story.