Automakers are seeing improvements in the supply of computer chips, but shortages continue to disrupt production.
The latest reading on the situation comes from Ford Motor, which said Wednesday that its second-quarter profit had risen nearly 20 percent from a year earlier, when the global chip shortage took a severe toll on its operations.
The automaker recorded a profit of $667 million, up from $561 million a year earlier. Its revenue was up substantially, to $40.2 billion from $26.8 billion, thanks to rising vehicle sales and higher prices.
Globally, Ford sold just over one million vehicles in the latest quarter, a sharp increase from 764,000 in the 2021 period.
“We’re seeing pent-up demand, and our dealers are selling vehicles as quickly as we can produce them,” Ford’s chief financial officer, John Lawler, said in a conference call.
But most of those numbers are still below what could be considered normal. Before the pandemic, in 2018 and 2019, Ford’s second-quarter sales topped 1.4 million vehicles — even with a weaker model line than the current one.
In the last two years, Ford redesigned its F-150 pickup and has added several vehicles generating buzz, including the new Bronco sport utility vehicle, the electric Mustang Mach E and the electric F-150 Lightning. It has also stopped making cars for the U.S. market except for the Mustang coupe.
On Tuesday, General Motors also reported higher revenue and was helped by an uptick in its supply of chips. But it, too, isn’t getting as many chips as it would like, which leaves the company unable to sell as many vehicles as customers want to buy.
G.M. said this month that it was holding 95,000 vehicles that were manufactured without certain electronic components affected by the chip shortage. The company expects to finish them and ship them to dealers by the end of the year.
On Wednesday, Ford said it had 53,000 vehicles awaiting final electronic parts before they can be shipped.
Ford, G.M. and other automakers are benefiting from high prices of new vehicles. That was one reason for the nearly 50 percent jump in Ford’s second-quarter revenue. At the same time, however, inflation is also pushing up the cost of raw materials and parts. Ford said it expected a $4 billion increase in the cost of materials this year.
G.M. has said its costs will rise by about $5 billion. Its second-quarter profit fell 40 percent to $1.7 billion, largely because of higher costs.
Mr. Lawler, Ford’s chief financial officer, said his company would be well prepared if the economy slipped into a recession. It has ample cash, its dealer inventories are low, and it holds a substantial order bank for Broncos and other vehicles, he said.
“We are in much better shape heading into a potential recession than at any other time I can think of,” Mr. Lawler added.
He also said Ford was reshaping almost all aspects of the company. “We’re not cost-competitive today,” he said, adding that job cuts were possible.
“As new skills are needed, old skills aren’t required anymore, and there could be changes to the types of skills we have in the company,” he said.
This year, Ford divided its operations into two divisions. One focuses on electric vehicles and is expected to grow rapidly and require substantial investments in new technologies and plants. The other focuses on making gasoline-powered models and will emphasize controlling costs and generating profits.