Euro Crisis

European Recession Hits Car Makers Hard

Wallets are a little lighter these days

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 Europe's stubborn recession cut deeply into profits at major automakers Ford, Volkswagen and Daimler, first-quarter results showed Wednesday as the industry began reporting earnings.

Germany's Volkswagen AG said its first-quarter net profit fell 38 percent to 1.95 billion euros ($2.5 billion), while Daimler AG's was down 60 percent at 564 million euros.

U.S.-based Ford Motor Co. lost $462 billion in Europe and called the outlook there "uncertain," although the company's global earnings rose 15 percent to $1.6 billion.

Ford last year announced it would close three plants to shed excess manufacturing capacity in Europe and is bringing new models to market to try and turn the business there around. But the company still said it expected to lose a painful $2 billion in the region over the course of this year.

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