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Ford Says 38,000 Accepted Buyout Offers


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By SVEN GUSTAFSON

The Associated Press

DETROIT - Ford's hourly work force is shrinking to half its current size, following the announcement Wednesday that 38,000 hourly workers have agreed to accept early retirement or buyout packages this year.

That still might not be enough to revive the nation's second-largest automaker, however, which is contracting in the face of multibillion-dollar losses and fierce competition. Now, say analysts, Ford Motor Co. needs to rekindle interest in its cars and reclaim some market share lost to Asian rivals.

"They've got to learn how to build a product that is acceptable in the market at a good price," Turnaround specialist Jim McTevia, of McTevia & Associates in Bingham Farms, said. "They've got to build it economically and they've got to sell it economically."

Ford had expected 25,000 to 30,000 workers to sign up during an open enrollment period that expired Monday. The new reduction figure would amount to nearly 46 percent of the 83,000 unionized employees that Ford had at the start of the year.

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