Ford Mulls Billion Dollar Investment, Confirms New Models

Ford Motor Co. said Aug. 9 that it is mulling a one billion dollar investment to improve its production capabilities and boost its development of hybrid vehicles. Ford, which this month announced its second quarter loss had more than doubled to $254 million due to mounting pension costs, also said that it would push ahead aggressively with new model launches in coming months.

"Ford's potential one billion dollar investment would be dedicated to expanding flexible manufacturing at several Ford facilities in Michigan and be used for the research and development of future products, advanced powertrain technologies and hybrid vehicles," a company statement said.

Ford said it would be rolling out nine new Ford and Lincoln Mercury vehicles in the next six months, and that its sporty new 4.6-liter Ford Shelby GT would hit showrooms by January. It also said its new concept-based Lincoln MKS sedan would go on sale by 2008.

The potential one billion dollar investment would form part of Ford's "Way Forward" turnaround plan, according to company officials. Ford has said it plans to broaden the restructuring plan, which already foresees up to 30,000 job cuts and the closure of 14 facilities. Ford has hired veteran Goldman Sachs banker Kenneth Leet as a strategic advisor to its chief executive Bill Ford in a bid to improve its fortunes.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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