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Us Problems Fuel Huge Ford Loss

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Ford has reported a $1.19bn (£629m) loss for the past three months after incurring huge costs from its planned series of job cuts and plant closures.

The car giant, trying to stem falling sales in its home market, made a $1.2bn profit this time last year.

Ford's North American unit made a $2.9bn loss in the first three months of 2006, leading its boss to say he was "not satisfied" with the performance.

Ford is cutting 30,000 jobs and closing 14 plants by 2012 to reduce its costs.

Falling sales

Ford's US car sales fell nearly 3% in the first quarter of 2006, continuing a year-long trend which has seen a decline in the popularity of sports utility vehicles.

Overall, Ford's revenues dropped 9% to $41.1bn.

The firm's sweeping restructuring programme - designed to return its US business to profitability by 2008 - meant it has been saddled with $1.7bn in one-off financial charges.

These relate to redundancy payments and other costs incurred in reducing its manufacturing base.

Excluding these, Ford said it made a $458m profit over the period.

"We have said we intend to restore automotive profitability in North America by no later than 2008 and we remain committed to deliver on our promise," said chief executive Bill Ford.

"While we are not satisfied with our performance, particularly a loss in North America automotive, we are encouraged by the success in our global operations," he added.

Ford and General Motors have lost US market share to more efficient Japanese competitors such as Toyota in recent times.

The company is also facing huge employee healthcare and pension liabilities.

"We are not satisfied with our performance

Bill Ford, Ford chief executive" :lol:

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