Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan
Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan - 


Scott Jagow: Ford turned in its third-quarter numbers this morning. Wall Street's reaction: "Oh, you didn't stink as bad as I thought you would." Ford lost money, but not as much as the analysts predicted. More now from Alisa Roth.

Alisa Roth: Ford's still not selling enough cars. But with buyouts and other parts of its restructuring plan, the company's managed to cut its losses.

Consultant Alan Baum says that for now, that's enough.

Alan Baum: They're kind of treading water right now with respect to their retail. But from the financial perspective, this is a positive result.

Of course, if it's going to survive, Ford's eventually going to have to start selling more cars. But Baum thinks several new models are helping the company do just that, and shake off some its negative brand image.

But Baum says all of the Big Three could be in for a nasty surprise:

Baum: The big kahuna waiting at the door is an economic downturn. And the American companies are particularly susceptible to that, because they really don't have a margin for error.

And Ford could be particularly vulnerable -- it's in the worst shape of the three.

In New York, I'm Alisa Roth for Marketplace.