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Buyouts bog down quarterly earnings

Automaker restates numbers, logs extra $131M in losses; luxury unit sales tank, SEC told.

Christine Tierney / The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co.'s second-quarter results were even more disappointing than previously thought.

The Dearborn automaker revised its quarterly earnings Wednesday, widening its loss by $131 million to $254 million, after making pension adjustments related to buyout and early retirements offered by the company.

Ford also downgraded the outlook for its Premier Automotive Group of European luxury brands.

"Based on the recent trend in sales, we now expect our Premier Automotive Group operating segment to be unprofitable for 2006," Ford said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company had previously expected the group to be slightly profitable, before taxes.

Ford's Jaguar brand, part of the luxury group, suffered a 15.1 percent drop in its U.S. sales in July. Sales of Land Rover vehicles, another brand in the group, tumbled 31 percent, while Volvo sales were down 10 percent.

Ford fell behind Toyota Motor Corp. for the first time ever in July in the U.S. monthly sales rankings.

Its management has been under mounting pressure since July 20, when Ford posted an unexpected $123 million loss for the second quarter. Analysts had expected a small profit.

Viewed as trailing General Motors Corp. in its restructuring efforts, Ford said at the time that it might have to take additional cost-cutting measures.

Both GM and Ford are closing plants and eliminating thousands of jobs as part of a radical downsizing.

The restructuring activity has led to a slew of earnings revisions and restatements in recent months, notably at GM.

GM also revised its second-quarter earnings Tuesday to reflect an additional $200 million loss.
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