Ford: Automaker On Track To Reach Financial Milestones

By Agence France-Presse Ford Motor Co. Chairman and CEO Bill Ford Jr. reassured shareholders on June 16 that the troubled automaker's turnaround plan was on track. "The plan I outlined in January 2002 is on track and it's working," the 47-year-old family scion told the automaker's annual shareholder meeting, outlining the progress made in the last 18 months. The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker said it cut $2 billion in costs last year, and is $500 million ahead of its 2003 target, "and we are aggressively going after more," Ford said. "We expect our co- care costs as well as the deterioration in net pricing associated with higher incentives," said Ford Chief Financial Officer Allan Gilmour. Both Ford and Gilmour also pointed to the company's better-than-expected first quarter as proof that the world's No. 2 automaker is making headway in stemming the tide of red ink that engulfed the company in the past two years. Ford earned $896 million or 45 cents a share in the first quarter following two years in which it lost $6.4 billion. It's on track to meet its full-year earnings target of 70 cents per share and "automotive break-even," in 2003, Gilmour told the meeting. Automotive break-even is defined as the break-even of the vehicle manufacturing unit, separate from the performance of Ford's Hertz subsidiary or its credit arm, Ford Credit. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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