Ford's third-quarter net income rose 68 percent as it grabbed a bigger share of the US auto market and buyers paid more for its highly-rated cars and trucks.It was Ford's sixth straight quarterly profit and the company's best third-quarter performance since at least 1990.Ford CEO Alan Mulally said popular new cars, such as the Fiesta and Edge wagon (sold in the US), and aggressive cost-cutting helped the company make money despite lower global sales.The automaker said it expects to end the year with as much cash as it has debt, a year earlier than it had previously forecast.Ford, which four years ago mortgaged its factories, blue oval logo and other assets to fund a huge restructuring, said it paid off $2 billion in debt in the third quarter and expects to pay off an additional $3.6 billion for retiree health care on Friday. Ford's debt will stand at $22.8 billion after those two actions. It has $20.3 billion in cash.When Ford pays its debt to the United Auto Workers health care trust, it will no longer owe any money to the trust. The UAW agreed to the trust in 2007, and it began paying health care benefits for thousands of retirees and spouses in January.Ford also said it is launching an offer to convert $3.5 billion in debt to common stock. The offer closes November 23.Ford's earnings of $1.7 billion, or 43 cents per share, beat Wall Street estimates.Without one-time items, which included a $102 million charge related to Ford's sale of Volvo, Ford would have earned 48 cents per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast earnings of 38 cents per share. Those estimates typically exclude one-time items.In the same quarter a year earlier, Ford earned $1 billion, or 26 cents per share.Ford's quarterly revenues fell $1 billion, or three percent, to $29 billion for the quarter. But Ford said if Volvo's 2009 revenues were excluded, revenues rose $1.7 billion.