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Ford Seeks Sale of Contracts Business

The automaker is exploring options for APCO, a provider of extended-service contracts.
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Ford

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is looking to sell its vehicle-service contract business as part of its ongoing restructuring plan.

The No. 2 U.S. automaker said Wednesday that it is exploring options for Automobile Protection Corp., or APCO, with a particular emphasis on a sale.

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Ford bought APCO, a provider of extended-service contracts to dealers of all models, in July 1999 for $180 million.

"APCO is a strong company that has performed very well, achieving growth in sales and revenue since its acquisition. As a result of our ongoing strategic review, we believe it is prudent now for us to consider a sale of APCO," said Ford Chief Financial Officer Don Leclair in a press release.

Ford, struggling with high costs, declining demand for big trucks and competition from overseas automakers, has been in the midst of a restructuring plan since early this year as it seeks to revitalize its business. Last month, the company drastically accelerated its moves, announcing plans to cut its salaried workforce by a third and offer buyouts to all union workers.

In addition to APCO, the company has also put its Aston Martin brand up for sale. Ford said there can be no assurance a deal for APCO will be reached.