updated 4/8/2005 4:47:32 PM ET 2005-04-08T20:47:32

Ford Motor Co. on Friday lowered full-year profit guidance due to difficult business conditions in the automotive sector, and doesn’t expect to reach its goal of hitting $7 billion in total company pretax profits by 2006.

The company now expects 2005 earnings in the range of $1.25 to $1.50 a share. Last month, Ford said its full-year profit would be at the lower end of expectations for earnings of between $1.75 to $1.95 per share.

Ford said its guidance reflects special items of 8 cents to 10 cents a share for the Premier Automotive Group improvement plan, investments in fuel cell technologies, and the sale of a non-core business.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial currently expect earnings of $1.64 per share on revenue of $148.49 billion during the year.

The company also anticipates that first-quarter earnings will actually exceed previous guidance of between 25 cents and 35 cents per share. Analysts are looking for earnings of 36 cents per share.

In addition, while the company expects improvements in the future, it no longer expects to reach its goal of $7 billion in total company pretax profits, excluding special items, as early as 2006.

“Obviously there are actions we could take to achieve our pre-tax profit goal of $7 billion for 2006, but we will not mortgage Ford’s future by chasing an objective set under vastly different market and economic conditions” said Bill Ford, chairman and chief executive, in a statement. “We are unwilling to cut the essential investments in the products, technologies, infrastructure and expanding markets that are the very building blocks of our future.

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