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reported a fourth-quarter loss of $5.9 billion as global auto sales tumbled.

The company also announced that the United Auto Workers union agreed to end the jobs bank program at Ford, just as it has at

General Motors

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and Chrysler. The two parties are working out implementation details.

The loss was $2.46 a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had estimated a loss of 89 cents a share. During the same period a year earlier, the company lost $2.8 billion, or $1.33 a share.

Special items reduced pretax profits by $1.4 billion in the fourth quarter, or $1.09 a share, largely reflecting costs associated with personnel reductions and retiree health-care charges related to the VEBA agreement with the UAW, Ford said.

Revenue declined 16.3% to $29.2 billion. Analysts had estimated $35 billion. The decline reflects lower volume, the June sale of Jaguar Land Rover and exchange translation, the company said.

"Ford and the entire auto industry faced an extraordinary slowdown in all major global markets in the fourth quarter that clearly had an impact on our results," said CEO Alan Mulally, in a prepared statement. "We continued to take the decisive actions necessary to lower production to match the lower worldwide demandand reduce costs, which we expect will allow us to significantly reduce negative operating cash flow in 2009 and position Ford for growth when the economy rebounds."

As of Dec. 31, Ford's total liquidity was $24 billion, including automotive gross cash of $13.4 billion. The company said it will draw its available credit lines, adding $10.1 billion to its cash reserves on Feb. 3.

"Ford went to the credit markets two years ago when they were functioning normally and obtained the funding necessary -- including our credit lines -- to support our product transformation and restructuring," Mulally said. "Given the instability of the capital markets with the uncertain state of the global economy, we believe it is prudent to draw these credit facilities at this time."

The company also reiterated that "based on current planning assumptions, Ford has sufficient automotive liquidity to fund its business plan and product investments and does not need a bridge loan from the U.S. government."

Ford said it reduced automotive costs by $1.4 billion in the fourth quarter and by $4.4 billion for the full year. Since year-end 2005, the North American cost reductions totaled $5.1 billion. Additionally, the company said its product share transformation enabled a full-year market share gain in Europe and a fourth-quarter gain in the U.S.

Looking ahead, Ford said it "remains on track for both its overall and its North American Automotive pretax results to be at or above breakeven in 2011, excluding special items."