Ford of Britain is said to have delayed publication of its financial results as accountants quantify the scale of record losses at the company.
The group, which was due to report its 2000 figures in July, has postponed its full-year results until September amid expectations that losses could exceed £500m, according to today's Financial Times.
This deficit would be 25% larger than earlier estimates, which suggested losses would be about £400m.
The latest figures had been delayed, the FT says, by the treatment of one-off restructuring charges, mainly associated with the end of car assembly next year at Dagenham, Ford's largest plant in Britain.
Ford of Britain, which reported a £119m deficit for 1999, could see operating losses climb to more than £200m following a 3.52% decline in unit sales to 374,342 vehicles last year.
Since then the carmaker has rebuilt sales although profitability was said to be still under pressure.
Figures published yesterday by the SMMT showed Ford registrations rising 8.33% last month to 29,760 vehicles. For the first seven months of the year, registrations of new Ford cars rose 7.37% to 245,446 units - a UK market share of 17%.