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Ford Motor Credit Reports Third-Quarter Net Losses

October 24, 2006

Ford Motor Credit officials said lower financing margins, high depreciation expense and the impact of lower average receivable levels played a role in the financing division’s reported 52-percent drop in pre-tax profits for the quarter. Analysts believe unfavorable borrowing rates are only partly to blame.

“The reduced profitability at Ford Motor Credit now shines a more intense light on the weakness of Ford’s fundamental operation — the automotive business,” Kevin Tynan, Argus Research analyst, said in a Reuters news article.

On Monday, Ford Motor Co. posted a quarterly loss of $5.8 billion — its largest loss in 14 years — due to slower truck sales, charges for job cuts and asset write-downs in its North American operations and elsewhere. Its financing division reported net income of $262 million in the third quarter of 2006, down $315 million from earnings of $577 million a year earlier. On a pre-tax basis from continuing operations, Ford Motor Credit earned $428 million in the third quarter, compared with $901 million in the previous year.

Ford executives repeated their belief that Ford Motor Credit is a strategic asset worth keeping, although Don Leclair, Ford’s CFO, said the automaker would explore partnerships in some markets.

Ford Motor Credit also said it plans to restate its earnings from 2001 through the second quarter of 2006 due to accounting errors involving derivative transactions. The division said the restatement would improve results for 2002, but said other periods are under study.

“This is a critical time,” Chief Executive Alan Mulally, a former Boeing Co. executive who took over at Ford in early September, told reporters and industry analysts in a conference call Monday morning. “We dearly recognize it and plan to deal with the business realities we are facing.”

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