Ford's troubled North American automotive operations will be back in the black in 2009 according to CFO Don Leclair.

Automotive News reported that Leclair wouldn't specify the amount of profit expected in the North American business in 2009 when speaking in a Ford conference call late last week.

One analyst questioning Leclair on the call described the bar representing 2009 results as just a "thin sliver of profits."

Ford's North American business reported a loss of US$3.3bn before taxes and special charges through the first nine months of 2006.

Leclair stressed that Ford's North American profit recovery is work in progress.

"We're trying to reflect our views of the uncertainties in the marketplace, so we're not going to be committing to a large profit level now," Leclair said of the 2009 projection.

Leclair was speaking on a conference call to explain restated financial statements filed by Ford last week.