Ford posts record profit

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NEW YORK  — Ford posted a record profit for 2015, helped by rising U.S. sales and an end to years of losses in Europe.

The No. 2 U.S. automaker earned a pre-tax profit for the year of $10.8 billion, and net income of $7.4 billion. Fourth quarter earnings were nearly double results from a year ago.

The company said it expects sales, profit margins and earnings to all be equal to or better than 2015 results this coming year. Those results and outlook lifted shares of Ford in premarket trading.

The U.S. auto industry reported record car sales in 2015 and that helped lift Ford’s results, as its global sales rose 5% to 6.6 million vehicles worldwide. Its bet on an aluminum F-150 pickup paid off as the F-series was again the best selling vehicle in the U.S. market.

Ford and other American automakers have struggled with losses in Europe for the last several years due to economic weakness there. Three years ago Ford announced it would close three plants in Belgium and England by the end of 2014. That helped Ford turn around results in Europe — it posted its first full-year profit there since 2011.