Ford cull of 8,800 jobs costs $950m

FORD OF the US, the world's second largest carmaker, is to take a $950m charge to cover the cost of 8,800 job losses worldwide and write- downs on two investments, writes Michael Harrison.

The size of the charge, to be taken in the company's fourth quarter, surprised analysts. The job losses include 2,000 in Europe, 2,.200 in North America and 4,600 in Latin America. Ford insisted that these were previously announced redundancies largely completed last year."As far as we are concerned there is no new job reduction programme in place," said a spokesman for Ford UK.

Ford's worldwide workforce is 330,000. In the UK there have been about 200 job losses from a workforce of 28,000. The Dagenham plant in Essex has been on short-time working for three months. It will remain on a four- day week until at least the end of February because of a downturn in exports which account for 45 per cent of sales.

The job cuts will lead to a $730m charge. Ford is also taking a $110m charge to cover its exposure to South Korean carmaker Kia and a $110m charge in respect of the transfer of a transmission plant in Ohio into a joint venture company.