By Deepa Seetharaman and Ben Klayman
DETROIT, July 24 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co, maker of the top-selling F-150 pickup truck, reported a better-than-expected second-quarter profit on Wednesday, buoyed by truck sales, higher vehicle prices and stronger results outside the core North American operations.
The company expects total pretax operating profit to be equal or higher than last year. Previously, it expected profit to be equal to 2012 levels.
The No. 2 U.S. automaker reported pretax second-quarter profit of 45 cents per share. Analysts, on average, expected 37 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The stock rose 3.1 percent to $17.47 in premarket trading.
Second-quarter revenue rose 15 percent to $38.1 billion.
Global vehicle prices, excluding the impact of incentives, rose $1 billion in the quarter. Prices increased in every region except Europe, where an economic downturn sent sales to 20-year lows in the first half.
The automaker reported a pretax profit of $2.3 billion in North America, its largest market and main source of profits. Truck sales were on a tear in the first half, which helped boost profits.
Outside North America, Ford also improved.
“I think we’re at the beginning of the phase where over the next several years you’ll start to see the operations outside North America take on more and more significance,” Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks told reporters in Dearborn, Michigan. “You’re starting to see what’s possible.”
Ford posted its best-ever profit in Asia of $177 million as well as a $151 million profit in South America. The company recorded a $348 million loss in Europe, smaller than the $404 million a year earlier.
Taken together, operations in the three regions outside North America broke even, Shanks said. In the first quarter, the combined loss was $600 million.
Ford now expects losses in Europe to total $1.8 billion, on par with 2012 levels and lower than the $2 billion loss it had predicted.