Sunday 28 January 2007
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Blackest year for Ford

By Richard Blackden, Online City Editor
Last Updated: 1:26am GMT 26/01/2007

Struggling US car giant Ford had its worst ever result last year, losing $12.8bn (£6.5bn), as the company restructures to cope with declining sales and tougher competition.

Ford plant in Manchester - 1930s
Ford wrote in his autobiography, 'Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black'

The 103-year old company has slashed production at its North American plants by almost 25pc, as its share of the US car market continues to dwindle. Ford, which is currently the second-largest car maker in America, has lost market share in the US for eleven straight years.

Ford, which recorded a loss of $5.8bn in the fourth quarter alone, is not the only US car maker stuggling to sell cars to Americans. General Motors' sales in the US slumped 9.6pc in December, continuing a trend that is endangering its position as the world's largest car maker.

Both Ford and General Motors are facing fierce competition from Toyota. The Japanese car maker enjoyed a 16pc increase in sales last month in the US.

Ford's new chief executive, Alan Mulally, said in a statement today that: "We fully recognise our business reality and are dealing with it."

The measures Ford has already taken include offering voluntary redundancy to 38,000 of its workers and outlining plans to shut 16 factories in the US by 2012. With the help of these measures, as well as a hoped for increase in sales, Ford is predicting that its North American business will make a profit again in 2009. Ford's shares slipped 3 cents to $8.17 in early morning trading in New York.

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