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Ford car division cuts losses

Ford has reported a fall in income from $3.5billion (£1.96bn) in 2004, to $2bn (£1.12bn) in 2005.

Full-year sales and revenue for 2005 was $178.1 billion, up from $171.7 billion a year ago.

Ford believes the closure of its Jaguar Brown Lane plant, consolidation of its assembly plant at Castle Bromwich and the closure of Ford’s Lorain Assembly plant in Ohio will help reduce the burden of costs this year. The company reduced its automotive staff by 10,000 people last year.

Ford also agreed with the United Auto Workers to reduce the company’s huge healthcare bills. Ford’s fourth quarter earnings rose by 19%, topping market forecasts.

Net income was $124m (£69.48m) in the last three months of 2005, compared with $104m (£58.3m) in the same period a year earlier.

For the full year, Ford's worldwide automotive division reported a pre-tax loss of $1bn (£560m), compared with pre-tax profit of $850m (£476.5m) a year ago. Ford said this was due to ‘unfavorable cost performance, volume and mix, and exchange, partially offset by net pricing’.

For the fourth quarter, Ford's worldwide Automotive sector reported a pre-tax loss of $12m (£6.7m), an improvement of $458m (£257m) from a pre-tax loss of $470m (£263.4) a year earlier. The improvement primarily reflected favourable volume and mix, net pricing, cost performance and exchange.

Worldwide automotive revenue for 2005 was $154.5bn (£86.6bn), an improvement from revenue of $147.1bn (£82.4bn) a year ago. Total fourth-quarter automotive revenue was $41.8bn (£23.4bn), an increase of $3bn (£1.68bn) from a year ago.

Total company vehicle unit sales in 2005 were 6,818,000, an increase of 20,000 units from 2004. Fourth-quarter vehicle unit sales totalled 1,853,000, an increase of 102,000 units from a year ago.

#AM_ART_SPLIT# Ford to close 14 plants, cut up to 30,000 jobs

Ford said it will close 14 assembly plants in North America, with a loss of up 30,000 jobs by 2012, as part of a restructuring plan.

The closings will cut Ford's assembly capacity by 1.2 million units, or 26%, by 2008, the automaker said.

The plant closings and job cuts are part of the Way Forward plan, designed to help Ford stabilize its North American market share.

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