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Ford reports $12.7B loss

In posting its worst annual loss, the automaker predicts a profit by 2009.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published January 26, 2007


DEARBORN, Mich. - Ford Motor Co. lost a staggering $12.7-billion in 2006 - an average of $1,925 for every car and truck it sold.

The company that invented the assembly line and whose name was a byword for the auto industry warned it will bleed cash for two more years before it has a shot at making money.

Ford's loss, reported Thursday, was the worst in the company's 103-year history and came amid slumping demand for sport utility vehicles and other gas guzzlers, and huge restructuring costs tied in part to the planned closure of 16 plants.

Last year's loss surpassed Ford's old record of $7.39-billion set in 1992.

A fourth-quarter loss of $5.8-billion helped drive up the red ink, which for the year amounted to $6.79 per share vs. a profit of $1.44-billion, or 77 cents a share, in 2005.

Ford's loss wasn't the worst annual total in the auto industry. General Motors Corp. lost $23.4-billion in 1992, due mainly to accounting rule changes on health care liabilities.

The company predicted more losses for this year and in 2008, but Ford said its restructuring plan is on track to return to profitability in 2009.

"We know where we are. We are dealing with it, and we're on plan," chief executive officer Alan Mulally told reporters and industry analysts in a conference call.

Several analysts said the loss was not surprising, given Ford's high costs and falling market share and sales.

The company's shares rose 2 cents to close at $8.22 on the New York Stock Exchange.