Ford Says it Can Survive Without Aid Despite Weak Sales

Cuts production further

Ford Motor Co. said on Feb. 26 it is planning further cuts to its production amid a worsening outlook for auto sales but reiterated assurances that it can survive the current economic downturn without resorting to government aid.

Ford cut its North American first quarter production outlook by another 25,000 units to 375,000 vehicles, which is a 46% reduction from the same period of 2008.

The automaker now expects 2009 U.S. auto sales to fall in the range of 10.5 to 12.5 million vehicles, down from the 11.5 to 12.5 range it anticipated when it published its fourth quarter results on January 29.

Ford noted a number of significant risks to its prospects, such as bankruptcies at suppliers or competitors and worsening sales, but said they "would not materially impair our ability to fund our plan."

"We believe that our current planning assumptions are reasonable," Ford said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. "Nonetheless, if industry sales volumes were to decline below our current planning assumptions, we remain committed to taking the necessary steps to match our manufacturing capacity to demand."

Ford said it is seeking similar concessions from its creditors and union as competitors General Motors and Chrysler, which have borrowed $17.4 billion from the U.S. government to keep their operations afloat and have asked for billions more.

"While we do not anticipate entering into a government-funded restructuring, we are pursuing similar restructuring actions to remain competitive," Ford noted.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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