Ford Motor Co.'s board of directors was meeting Wednesday and Thursday to consider a restructuring plan that is likely to include a significant number of job cuts and plant closings.
Ford spokesman Tom Hoyt confirmed the board was holding a regularly scheduled meeting and one of the items on the agenda was the restructuring plan. He wouldn't discuss any details of the plan, saying it hasn't been finalized.
Ford is expected to reveal the plan on Jan. 23, according to United Auto Workers Vice President Gerald Bantom, who is in charge of negotiations with Ford. Bantom said he had no details of the plan. But UAW President Ron Gettelfinger noted Ford will have to get the UAW's approval to close plants under the union's contract with the automaker.
Ford has been struggling with declining U.S. market share, high labor costs and excess plant capacity. The company reported a $1.2 billion pretax loss in its North American automotive operations in the third quarter.
Ford is only using around 86 percent of its North American assembly plant capacity, compared to rival Toyota Motor Corp., which is running at full capacity. Ford has 23 assembly plants in North America.
In September, Ford Chairman and CEO Bill Ford named Mark Fields president of the Americas for Ford in the company's second management shake-up in less than two years. Bill Ford said Fields was helping craft a restructuring plan that would include "significant" job cuts and plant closures.
Ford had a total of 122,877 North American employees at the end of last year. The Dearborn-based automaker has around 324,000 employees worldwide. Ford has said it plans to lay off 2,750 salaried workers this year and 4,000 additional salaried workers at the beginning of next year.
© 2005 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.