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Ford may cut more jobs
August 30, 2001: 7:49 a.m. ET

Competition, a sluggish U.S. economy, spur automaker to consider further cuts
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Ford Motor Co. CEO Jacques Nasser said more job cuts beyond the 5,000 announced earlier this month are likely at the No. 2 automaker as he sees no signs of relief from economic and competitive pressures, according to a published report Thursday.

Nasser said he is considering plant closures and other restructuring moves in North America where over-capacity and intensifying competition from Asian and European imports are having an impact on the bottom line, the Wall Street Journal reported. The change comes as Ford is in the midst of laying off 4,000 to 5,000 white-collar employees.

On Wednesday, Ford (F: Research, Estimates) said it would forgo executive bonuses as a cost-saving move. A year ago, executives shared a bonus pool of $440 million and unionized workers received profit-sharing checks averaging about $6,700.

Ford CEO Jacques Nasser is mulling more job cuts in order to trim costs
"If you look at it in a macro sense, there's too much capacity," Nasser told the Journal. "If you're not fit and lean, and are burdened with excess assets that are not utilized well, it's not fair to the customers and employees and shareholders. I'm confident we'll get to the right balance."

In addition to the competitive problems and the slowing U.S. economy, Ford has had to spend $3 billion to cover the cost of recalling 13 million Firestone tires and another $400 million to resolve lingering quality problems.

Nasser said a review of the company's operations should be completed within 60 days, and that even though the focus is on North American operations, much needs to be done overseas.

"Europe isn't out of the woods," Nasser said, adding that "further action will be required" to curb South American losses.

Despite the cost cutting, Ford isn't reducing new-product development, though specific models are being delayed, the paper said.

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Ford's woes contrast sharply with its performance just a year ago, when shareholders approved a plan to return as much as $10 billion to shareholders through a complex recapitalization plan. Last October, Ford raised its quarterly dividend by 5 percent to 30 cents a share.

However, ongoing woes from the Firestone tire recall, which initially involved 6.5 million tires installed mostly as original equipment on Ford's Explorer sport/utility vehicles, quality problems and competition have dragged its prospects down. graphic


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