Fleet News

Ford to close five US plants and cut 22,000 jobs

Ford Motor Company has announced it will shut five of its North American car plants - cutting global production output by 16% - and make 22,000 workers redundant.

The carmaker stressed that the previously announced overhaul of its European operations, which will see the end of car production at Dagenham this year and the loss of 1,900 jobs, is seen as a blueprint for the shake-up in its domestic operations.

Ford has not said which plants will close, but said the goal was to increase profits by £6.23m by 2005 and reduce annual car production to 4.8 million units from 5.7 million units. Annual savings resulting from the restructuring should total $9 billion (£6.2 billion).

One executive at today's news conference at Ford's Dearborn headquarters said: “All of us have been way off in our forecasting.”

Last month Ford warned it expected fourth quarter results to be worse than it had previously forecast. It said it expected to make a loss of 50 cents a share. Previously, the company said it expected fourth quarter operating results to improve from the third quarter loss of 28 cents a share, although earning a profit would be 'difficult'. The 28 cents a share loss was said by analysts to equate to $502m (£354m).

The primary reason for the lower forecast, the company said, is increased credit loss reserves reflecting weakened US economic conditions and high marketing and product costs.

The company is set to publish its year-end results next Thursday.

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