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Wednesday, 17 October, 2001, 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
Ford reports huge loss
Jacques Nasser, Ford chief executive
Jacques Nasser: Head on the block?
Car giant Ford has recorded a half-billion dollar loss over three months, thanks to the industry slowdown which has worsened since 11 September.

The result - a loss of $502m (348m) before one-off items such as the cost of layoffs - is the first time since 1992 the company has made two quarterly losses in a row.

Also excluded from the bottom line is a $199m charge after tax to cover investments in e-commerce and other ventures.

The figures, covering the July to September period, were in line with analysts' expectations.

Last year, Ford managed a $994m profit in the same period.

Uncertain forecast

Revenues fell 9% to $36.5bn, largely due to a slowdown in sales in North America.

It will be difficult to earn a profit in the fourth quarter

Martin Inglis, chief financial officer
In the immediate aftermath of the attacks in September, Ford sales slumped 10%, although rival DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler unit was even worse hit with a 28% tail-off.

The outlook for the last three months of the year is "volatile and uncertain," said Ford chief financial officer Martin Inglis. "It will be difficult to earn a profit in the fourth quarter".

He told financial analysts it is "fairly obvious" the firm will not achieve its target of a $5bn revenue increase in 2001.

Nasser at risk?

Meanwhile, Ford chief executive Jacques Nasser was under pressure as a magazine article claimed he had lost the support of the Ford family.

Forbes said in a story posted on its website that the family - which still controls 40% of board votes - wants Mr Nasser gone.

The fiasco surrounding problems with Firestone tyres, prompting a multi-billion dollar recall, along with other quality problems and persistent poor results, has sapped confidence in him, the article claims.

Forbes reporter Robyn Meredith told the BBC's World Business Report that her sources say Jacques Nasser will leave the company by the end of the year, although is unclear whether Bill Ford will take over.

On 15 September, the Standard & Poor's credit rating agency downgraded Ford's debt.

On Wall Street, Ford shares stood down $0.14 at $17.54 in late morning trade.

Forbes reporter Robyn Meredith
"It is clear that Nasser has to go"
See also:

02 Oct 01 | Business
Car makers rattled by US attacks
12 Sep 01 | Business
Car makers hope for Frankfurt boost
11 Sep 01 | Business
Ford goes for growth
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