Ford Motor Company (F -3.92%) said that its third-quarter profit was much higher than analysts had expected, thanks to strong sales of pickups and SUVs in the United States, and that it now expects a profit for the full year.

Ford's net income in the third quarter was $2.4 billion, on revenue of $37.5 billion. Both were higher than its results a year ago, when the automaker reported net income of just $425 million on revenue of $37 billion.

A close-up of the front end of a red 2020 Ford F-150 pickup truck.

Ford will launch an all-new F-150 soon, but sales -- and pricing -- of the outgoing model remained strong in the third quarter, helping Ford to a better-than-expected profit. Image source: Ford Motor Company.

Ford had previously warned auto investors to expect a full-year loss in 2020, but changed its forecast after sales and pricing were stronger than expected in the July-to-September period. In particular, executives said, continued strong demand for pickups and SUVs in the United States, along with higher sales in China, drove the better-than-expected results

On an adjusted basis, excluding one-time items, Ford earned $3.6 billion, or $0.65 per share. That was well above Wall Street's expectations: Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected adjusted earnings of $0.16 per share, on average, on revenue of $32.86 billion.

Ford's adjusted operating profit margin in North America, a widely watched figure, was a stout 12.5%.

As expected, Ford generated $6.3 billion in adjusted free cash flow in the quarter, as it rebuilt working capital that had been depleted during the coronavirus-related production halt earlier in the year. The company ended the quarter with $29.5 billion in cash, an additional $15 billion in untapped credit lines, and $24.2 billion in debt. 

Ford confirmed that its next three new products -- the all-new F-150 pickup, the electric Mustang Mach-E, and the compact Bronco Sport SUV -- are on track to launch by the end of 2020.