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Ford Reports Wider Loss, More Job Cuts

Ford Motor (F) reported a wider-than-expected third-quarter loss from continuing operations of about $3 billion, or $1.31 a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $24 million, or 1 cent a share, and said Friday it plans to reduce North American salaried personnel-related costs by an additional 10%.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected the automaker to report a quarterly loss of 94 cents a share.

The net loss in the quarter was $129 million, or 6 cents a share.

Ford said gross cash totaled $18.9 billion on Sept. 30, down from $26.6 billion at the end of the second quarter. Ford said the decrease primarily reflects automotive pretax operating losses, changes in working capital, and upfront subvention payments to Ford Credit.

Ford said it will further reduce its U.S. hourly employees by about 2,600 under its most recent round of targeted buyouts, bringing its total U.S. hourly reductions through buyouts in 2008 to about 7,000.

Besides the job cuts, Ford said it plans reductions in capital spending and manufacturing and will reduce global inventories. Ford also said it would continue to explore divestitures of noncore assets and "utilize equity-for-debt swaps and other incremental sources of financing to strengthen the company's balance sheet."

Ford said it continues to invest in smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. The company said nearly all planned product programs remain on track and on time, aside from a "few select vehicles that will be deferred until industry volumes recover." Ford said it will, however, reduce spending for large vehicles in declining segments.

The company said it remains on track to achieve $5 billion in cost reductions in North America by the end of 2008.

Ford reported third-quarter revenue of $32.1 billion, down from $41.1 billion a year earlier. The decline reflects lower volume and the sale of Jaguar and Land Rover.

General Motors (GM) is expected to post results later Friday.

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