General Motors has pocketed $5 billion in net profit so far this year, $1 billion more than crosstown rival Ford Motor, no surprise since GM is a larger company.
But in North America, where the two carmakers compete most fiercely, Ford is way ahead.
Ford earned almost $6.5 billion in pre-tax profit selling vehicles in its home market through the first nine months of 2012. Its 11.2% operating margin on $57.8 billion of revenues (not counting Ford Motor Credit) was the company’s best in the region since 2000. Just a few years back, GM would have been thrilled with its own 7.8% pre-tax margin in North America. But after emerging from bankruptcy in 2009 with a clean balance sheet, lower labor costs and fewer obligations, it should be doing better. The earnings gap with Ford has become a glaring issue for GM and its investors.