Ford makes out big in the first quarter
Ford Motor Company announced a profit of more than $2.5 billion in the first three months of the year.
That's the company's best quarterly performance since 1998.
Ford CEO Alan Mulally expects the rest of 2011 to be profitable as well - despite some headwinds like low U.S. consumer confidence and rising commodity and gas prices:
"Even though it's a slower recovery and the fuel prices are moving up, the demand is there and we are really pleased to have the product line that the consumers really do want and value."
Mulally says he's optimistic that car sales will continue improving:
"In the automobile industry, the pentup demand is tremendous, you know the average age of car ownership is over ten years now."
Mulally says Ford also improved its balance sheet by reducing its debt by another $2.5 billion in the first quarter.
Ford took out a huge loan in 2006 before the recession. That loan enabled the company to improve its cars during the economic downturn and avoid bankruptcy.
Since last year, the company has paid off $17 billion of debt.