The last time Ford posted profits that size was 1999, when its Explorer was the best-selling sport utility vehicle in the country. The auto industry is looking at a vastly different market now, with research geared toward finding the breakthrough hybrid or all-electric vehicle to satisfy government mandates and public demand for safe, reliable but cheap transportation.
Ford said it had earned enough last year to reward hourly employees with an average bonus of $5,000, the Detroit Free Press reported.
"We've always said that all our stakeholders will benefit from the growth of the company and improving profitability, and I think this is a specific reflection of that," said Lewis Booth, the company's chief financial officer.
"It's a delight to be paying profit-sharing," he said.
During the year, Ford cut its debt from $33.6 billion to $19.1 billion. It also gained market share, partly due to recalls that plagued rival Toyota.
"We've fixed the fundamentals of the business … and we've continued to make progress on the balance sheet," Booth said.