Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ford moving towards cars over trucks and SUV's

Ford Motor Co is assembling a plan to retool its North American truck plants to build cars in a bid to keep up with changing consumer demand in the United States, the Detroit News reported on Wednesday.

Ford spokeswoman Angie Kozleski declined to comment on the report, but said plant managers and local union leaders from across the United States have been summoned to meet at Ford's Dearborn headquarters on Friday.

"It's a private meeting to discuss the state of the business," Kozleski said. "What we're going to do is to keep everyone up to date on the changing business situation."

The No. 2 U.S. automaker would revamp some of its North American plants to produce vehicles currently built in Europe, where it is a leader in the small-car segment, the paper reported, citing people familiar with the company's plans.

Details of the plan are expected to be announced in July, it said.

Ford is currently reviewing its entire product pipeline in North America to accelerate the introduction of more fuel-efficient cars and build more vehicles on fewer platforms.

Ford's U.S. vehicle sales plunged 12 percent in the first five months of 2008 from a year earlier as record gasoline prices depressed sales of large gas-thirsty trucks and SUVs.

Last month, Ford dropped its long-standing goal of returning to profitability in 2009, saying the shift in consumer demand toward fuel-efficient cars and crossovers and away from trucks and SUVs is permanent.

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