Ford’s third-quarter profits jump to $1.7bn

US motor company Ford has reported net income of $1.7bn (£1.08bn) for the third quarter, a rise of 68% on the same period a year ago.

The company’s improved performance came as it increased its share of the US market and buyers paid more for its cars and trucks.

It was Ford’s sixth straight quarterly profit.

Ford chief Alan Mulally said that new cars and aggressive cost-cutting had helped to boost profits.

‘Growing product strength’

“This was another strong quarter and we continue to gain momentum with our One Ford [transformation] plan,” said Mr Mulally, Ford’s president and chief executive.

“Delivering world class products and aggressively restructuring our business has enabled us to profitably grow even at low industry volumes in key regions.

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US creates $30bn small business fund

The US Senate has backed a bill that will establish a $30bn (£19.5bn) fund for small businesses.

President Obama’s Democrats won a 61-38 vote to pass the legislation, with backing from two Republicans.

The measure is designed to help open up lending for small businesses, cut their taxes and boost Small Business Administration loan programmes.

The new loan fund would be available to community banks to encourage lending to small businesses.

Supporters say banks should be able to use the fund to access up to $300bn in loans.