Ford Motor Company, the globe's third-largest automaker, reported fourth-quarter net income of $104 million (€79.70m; £59.5m), reversing a year-earlier loss, as improved performance by its financial unit Ford Credit offset losses in its core automotive business.

The results were also affected adversely by a writedown related to Visteon, its former parts-making unit. Ford's overall revenue slipped 2.6% to $44.7 billion from $45.9bn a year earlier.

Worldwide automotive operations posted a pretax loss of $470m, thereby reversing a slim year-on-year pretax profit of $13m.

Ford blamed the automotive losses on declining market share in North America, adverse exchange rates and the poor performance of its Premier Automotive Group of European luxury brands, which posted a loss of $255m before taxes, thereby missing the company's fourth quarter break-even target.

"We need the automotive business to contribute more than it has," said chief financial officer Don Leclair, in the understatement of the year to date. He declined to offer an outlook for 2005.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff