Ford (NYSE:F) released first-quarter results this morning that easily surpassed the average estimate. Unfortunately, that's where the good news ends. Its earnings were off by more than a third compared with first-quarter 2004, and it could very likely be posting a loss next quarter.

Ford reported earnings of $1.2 billion in the first quarter, or $0.60 per share, down 38% from last year. The company now expects to break even or lose as much as $0.15 per share in the second quarter. For now, however, it is maintaining its full-year guidance of between $1.25 and $1.50 per share. If its second-quarter results fall too far into negative territory, I wouldn't be surprised to see those numbers adjusted lower.

Ford's automotive unit continues to suffer from lower volumes, higher costs, and lower pricing in its core North American business. Its North American automotive business posted profits of $579 million, down 67% from last year.

Ford's finance unit remains the lone bright spot. However, it can't expect its finance unit to continue carrying the bulk of the load, particularly when it's making operating income gains of only 3%.

Hoping to slow the bleeding, Ford further cut its North American production forecast to 4.8% below last year's levels. While profits will suffer, it's a necessary move, since inventories remain high.

Just likeGeneral Motors (NYSE:GM), Ford has a plethora of obstacles it must overcome. Both continue to lose market share to Asian rivals while also combating higher business costs and losing sales of high-margin trucks and SUVs because of high fuel costs. Investors may think all the bad news has already been factored into the stock's price, but with the possibility of losing money in the next quarter looming, Ford seems to still have a long road ahead.

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Fool contributor Mike Cianciolo welcomes feedback and doesn't own any of the companies in this article.