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Jaguar may announce cut-back plans

Jaguar may announce as early as this week the extent of production cuts that the Ford luxury brand plans for this year due to poor demand, a spokesman told Reuters on Friday.

But any broader decision on reducing manufacturing capacity at Jaguar's three British plants is still weeks away, spokesman Don Hume reportedly said.

"We are just working out the details now on the volume (of the reduction in output in 2004) and how we will implement it, but it will happen," Hume told the news agency. "What we may have next week is more detail on exactly what we do with production cuts ... The real longer-term plan will be a few weeks yet at least," he added.

Ford president Nick Scheele told Reuters on Thursday that no firm decision had been made about slashing the output of British-built Jaguars, which are part of Ford's stable of luxury brands known as the Premier Automotive Group (PAG).

He reportedly said Jaguar managers had held talks with union officials about the automaker's inventories, production and sales.

"Certainly for the number of cars sold, we have too much capacity," Scheele said. Jaguar's US sales plunged nearly 25% in July and are down about 7% so far this year.

Scheele indicated to the news agency that a broad restructuring may be needed to get Jaguar back to sustained profitability. "You have to look at fixed costs," he said.

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