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GM narrows gap with Ford
June 11, 2001: 7:47 a.m. ET

Report said to show less difference in productivity between automakers
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - General Motors Corp. is quickly closing in on rival automaker Ford Motor Co.'s lead in production efficiency, a published news report said Monday.

According to this year's edition of a widely watched report on auto-efficiency expected to be released Thursday, GM (GM: Research, Estimates) has narrowed the productivity gap with Ford (F: Research, Estimates), the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the situation.

The report is said to show that the No. 2 automaker's labor productivity fell 4 percent in 1999 despite efforts to boost efficiency in its U.S. plans, while GM scored an 8 percent increase in productivity,

Productivity is a measure of the number of worker hours needed to make a vehicle, the report said.

The Journal said a Ford spokeswoman declined to comment on the report but said Ford's "productivity in North America remains the best of the full-line manufacturers, as it has been for a number of years."

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Ford has been plagued by the ongoing concern about its Explorer sport/utility vehicle and the Firestone tires that came with them. Ford CEO Jacques Nasser is expected to testify before Congress as early as next week about his company's decision to replace an additional 13 million Firestone tires, the Journal said; Bridgestone/Firestone said last month it would no longer sell its tires to Ford,

Shares of GM gained 5 cents to $59.10 Friday, while Ford lost 14 cents to $24. graphic


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