DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — North America propped up Ford Motor Co.'s profits in the first quarter, which otherwise took a beating from plummeting European sales and higher taxes.

Ford said Friday its net income fell 45 percent from a year earlier. The first quarter of 2011 was the company's best first quarter since 1998.

But Ford beat Wall Street's expectations, and the company's outlook was upbeat. Ford expects improvement in the second half of the year as more plant capacity opens. It's also hoping a new plan to offer lump-sum pension payments to retirees will wipe millions of dollars in liabilities off its books.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.