Ford Motor Co., ramping up electric-vehicle production while struggling to make money on its plug-in models, posted fourth-quarter profit that fell short of Wall Street estimates.

The automaker reported earnings of 51 cents a share, excluding some items, missing the 62-cent average of analysts’ estimates. On that basis, earnings before interest and taxes came to US$2.6 billion, Ford said Thursday, shy of the US$3.45 billion analysts expected.

“We should have done much better last year,” Chief Executive Officer Jim Farley said in a statement. “We left about US$2 billion in profits on the table that were within our control, and we’re going to correct that with improved execution and performance.”

Ford shares fell as much as 8.9 per cent to US$13.05 in extended trading after the results were announced. The stock has declined 31 per cent in the past year.

Ford anticipates a “mild” recession in the U.S. this year and a “moderate” one in Europe. It also expects challenges from increased customer incentives industrywide and a strong U.S. dollar.

For this year, Ford forecasts adjusted earnings of US$9 billion to US$11 billion before interest and taxes, compared with estimates of US$9.94 billion. The company earned US$10.4 billion on that basis in 2022.

Ford aims to increase production of EVs to 600,000 annually by the end of this year and reach a 2-million-vehicle yearly run rate by the end of 2026.

But competition is accelerating and growth is slowing in the emerging EV segment. That forced the carmaker to slash prices on its plug-in pony car, the Mustang Mach-E, in response to deep price cuts by market leader Tesla Inc.

Ford’s revenue in the fourth quarter increased 17 per cent to US$44 billion, beating the US$39.8 billion that analysts expected.

Ford more than doubled sales of EVs in the U.S. last year and fortified its position as the No. 2 seller of battery-powered models, behind Tesla, which controls almost two-thirds of the American EV market.