News Summary: Ford to shut more plants in Europe

THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Ford closed a second European factory in as many days and warned that annual losses in the region will exceed $1.5 billion this year and next. All automakers are struggling in Europe with too many plants, high labor costs and an economic crisis that has sapped demand for cars.

HUMAN SCALE: The closure of the plant in Southampton, Britain, will cost 1,500 jobs. On Thursday, Ford said it was closing a massive factory in east Belgium at a cost of 6,200 jobs. Counting the indirect impact on suppliers that depend on doing business with Ford's factories, the plant closures will cause about 11,000 job losses.

FORD FORWARD: Ford expects the European business to return to profitability by mid-decade with the plant closures and the introduction of new vehicle models. Ford still expects a strong pretax profit this year for the company overall. Earnings will be better in the third quarter than in the second, when excluding one-time costs and gains. The company posts third-quarter earnings on Nov. 8.