Ford expected to ride momentum to 1Q profit

DETROIT – Wall Street analysts expect Ford Motor Co. to post a $1.18 billion profit when the automaker reports its first-quarter earnings on Tuesday.

Ford has been gaining momentum due to high quality rankings and because it avoided government aid and bankruptcy protection like crosstown rivals General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC.

Analysts expect strong earnings because Ford's U.S. sales rose 37% during the quarter over the same period last year.

International operations also are expected to do well because China sales rose 84% for the quarter.

Ford also could announce increased production in the second quarter.

The first-quarter profit would be a huge turnaround from the same period last year when Ford lost $1.4 billion.