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Ford Truck Plants Going Into Car-Building Business

Ford Motor 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 Wednesday.

Ford announced today that it is cutting production by 21% resulting in downtime at the assembly plant in St. Thomas Ontario on Friday Aug. 18, 2006. Ford Motor Co. announces sharp cuts in its North American production that would force it to partially shut down plants in the U.S. and Canada in the fourth quarter. (AP Photo/Canadian Press, Geoff Robins)
Geoff Robins
Ford announced today that it is cutting production by 21% resulting in downtime at the assembly plant in St. Thomas Ontario on Friday Aug. 18, 2006. Ford Motor Co. announces sharp cuts in its North American production that would force it to partially shut down plants in the U.S. and Canada in the fourth quarter. (AP Photo/Canadian Press, Geoff Robins)

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, Mich., headquarters 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.

Fordis 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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