Ford Speeds Restructuring with Closures, Buyouts

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Ford Motor Co. says it will close two plants in Ohio and Ontario, and offer buyout plans to all of its 75,000 factory workers in North America. It's part of an effort to speed up a restructuring plan it had previously announced.

The Ontario plant makes engines and the Ohio facility is a stamping plant. Ford also said it will close an assembly plant in Norfolk, Va., in 2007, a year earlier than expected.

In addition to buyout offers for hourly wokers, Ford will also cut 10,000 salaried jobs. The company said it wants to cut annual costs by $5 billion.

The cuts announced this morning are in addition to reductions already disclosed. The company said earlier this year that it would lay off 30,000 employees and shut down 14 plants over the next six years.

But the company has continued to struggle since the initial plan was announced, losing $1.4 billion during the first half of this year.

The Detroit News quoted unnamed sources as saying the Ford's overall losses for the year would be significantly worse than expected.

Wall Street has been pressuring the company to accelerate its turnaround plans. The cuts announced Friday are an effort to do just that.

Last week the company hired Boeing executive Allen Mullaly as its new CEO, replacing Bill Ford Jr. Mullaly met with Ford's board of directors over the past two days to discuss what steps to take.

The company also said Thursday that two executives were leaving, including Executive Vice President Anne Stevens. She is one of the highest ranking women in the auto industry.



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