Ford preparing for mass job cuts

Ford is due to unveil plant closures and 30,000 job cuts aimed at reviving the fortunes of its US business. The carmaker, the first to use production lines in its factories, is facing increased competition from Asian rivals such as Toyota and Nissan.

Ford's auto business reported losses of $1.7bn (£950m) in the first nine months of 2005, and tough times are predicted. Despite the problems, Ford said on Monday that fourth quarter earnings rose by 19%, topping market forecasts. The company said that net income was $124m in the last three months of 2005, compared with $104m in the same period a year earlier. Ford is expected to outline its restructuring plan later today.