(From ABC News Headlines - www.abc.net.au/news
Restructuring to have no impact on Australia's Ford operations
Five thousand workers at the Ford Motor Company in Australia will not be affected by a major worldwide restructuring of the manufacturing giant.
The company has announced plans to slash 35,000 jobs worldwide, after suffering losses of almost $3 billion in the six months to September last year.
Five plants are to be closed in North America, with four vehicle models taken off production.
But a spokeswoman for Ford's Australian operations, Sinead McAlary, says local production will not be affected.
"It will have no direct impact at all," Ms McAlary said.
"The restructure in America is mainly to get the North American operations back on track.
"Ford in Australia we've had our plan for what we're going to be doing to move forward into the next couple of years and we're sticking with that so we're quite happy where we're going at the moment."
Ford says the restructure will save it about $18 billion by the middle of this decade.
As well as the job losses, the auto giant is cutting its dividend for the second time in a year and CEO William Clay Ford, who took over the company just 10 weeks ago, says he will not be taking a bonus.
"It will be difficult and in some cases painful to turn things around but we will turn this company around," he said.
Additionally, the world's number two automaker will sell off assets valued at one billion this year, and cut material costs by $3 billion by the middle of the decade.
Mr Ford said all told, the savings outlined in the long-awaited restructuring plan should deliver savings of $9 billion by around 2005.
"What we are outlining today is a comprehensive plan that builds for the future," Mr Ford said.
He added "these are painful but necessary steps to make us competitive going forward".
The chairman and chief executive acknowledged that the firm had lost its way because it underestimated the competition and the extent of the economic downturn, and lost sight of the basics of the business.
"We strayed from what got us to the top of the mountain and it cost us greatly," Mr Ford said who has waived his pay, bonuses, and all income except options until the automaker turns a profit.
Battered by the Firestone tyre crisis, slipping market share in North America, and difficult economic conditions globally, Ford is expected to post its first full year loss since 1992 when it reports fourth quarter results next week.
The automaker will take a $4.1 billion charge after taxes in the fourth quarter to cover the cost of the restructuring, taking estimated total losses for the year 2001 to 5.4 billion net.
The one-off hit to earnings will cover the cost of the layoffs, 22,000 of which will come from its North American operations.