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Last Updated: Monday, 23 October 2006, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
Losses increase 30-fold at Ford
Man checking cars at Ford dealer
Ford's US sales have been flagging
Struggling US car firm Ford has seen its third quarter losses widen dramatically, hit by the expense of its ongoing cost-cutting plan.

Ford said its loss in the three months until the end of September totalled $5.8bn (3bn), almost 30 times higher than they were at this time last year.

Leaving out the provision for its cost cuts - including 45,000 redundancies - the loss shortened to $1.2bn.

Ford added that an error meant it had to restate all earnings since 2001.

Our focused priorities are to restructure aggressively to operate profitably at lower volumes
Ford boss Alan Mulally

The carmaker said the accounting mistake had been caused by certain transactions in its consumer credit division being wrongly reported.

Its turnover during the third quarter was down 6% on a year earlier to $32.6bn.

'Clearly unacceptable'

Ford's newly appointed chief executive, former Boeing executive Alan Mulally, said the results were "clearly unacceptable".

"We are committed to dealing decisively with the fundamental business reality that customer demand is shifting to smaller, more efficient vehicles," he said.

Like fellow "Big Three" US car firms General Motors (GM) and Chrysler, Ford has seen itself handicapped in recent years by an over-reliance upon thirsty pick-up trucks and sports utility vehicles.

Sales of such cars have declined as petrol prices have risen sharply in the US.

Instead a growing number of US drivers are switching to smaller engine or hybrid cars, where Asian firms such as Toyota lead the market, and Ford, GM and Chrysler have been slow to catch up.

"Our focused priorities are to restructure aggressively to operate profitably at lower volumes, and to accelerate the development of new, more efficient vehicles that customers really want," added Mr Mulally.

Factory closures

Ford aims to achieve 45,000 job cuts in the US and Canada by 2008, including 14,000 white-collar positions.

The jobs will go as the company closes 16 North American factories by 2008.

It hopes the measures will help it reduce annual costs by about $5bn.

Ford's European operations are unaffected by the closures or job cuts.


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