Ford Expects to Miss U.S. Sales Goals: Source

Ford Motor expects to miss its U.S. retail sales goals for February and March because of a deepening slump in the market for pickup trucks and SUVs, a person who had seen the forecast said on Friday.

The revised forecast were part of an internal report titled "Report Card: Ford North America," that was provided to employees, the person said.

Ford expects its U.S. retail market share to be slightly off in February from the previously expected 10 percent. The company previously expected to have an 11 percent share in March, but now says it may be off by about 0.5 percentage point from that goal, the person said.

Ford's Americas President Mark Fields went over the report with employees on Wednesday as part of his regular weekly Webcast, the person said.

Ford spokesman Tom Hoyt confirmed the authenticity of the report.

"The report card reflects our commitment to have candid communication with our employees, which is a hallmark of 'Way Forward,"' he said.

Ford is in the early stages of a turnaround plan dubbed "Way Forward" that includes closing 16 plants and cutting up to 45,000 jobs in North America. Ford's last profitable year was 2005.

Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally, who replaced Bill Ford Jr. in September, is hoping that once the company cuts its manufacturing capacity, its new products that are expected to be more fuel-efficient will help return the company to profitability.

The internal report also said the company exceeded its material cost reduction target for January, but will miss its targets for February and March, the person said.

Ford now expects to reduce material cost by around 25% in February, which is at the lower end of its cost savings target of between 25% and 50%.

In March, the company expects to save under 50% in material costs even though the plan was to save over 50%, according to the report.

The report also included the results of a quarterly survey of 15,000 employees of Ford's Americas unit, who were selected randomly.

About half of the employees surveyed have confidence in Ford's long-term success and less than 45% believe the automaker's "Way Forward" plan is working, the person said, citing the report.