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BAMAPHIN 22
08-09-2006, 11:01 PM
Ford Motor Co. misjudged the speed at which consumers would shift from truck-based sport utility (http://www.srch-results.com/lm/rtl3.asp?si=77&k=sport%20utility) vehicles to cars and crossover vehicles and now is accelerating plans to deal with it, a top company official says.

In appearances Tuesday and Wednesday at the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, said the company will announce adjustments in its "Way Forward" restructuring plan by the end of September that include faster cost cuts and new products.

The company also is considering a $1 billion investment in manufacturing and research in its home state of Michigan, Fields said.

"We are rebuilding our business for the future with an emphasis on more new products faster -- and that includes more customer features and advanced technologies throughout our entire lineup," Fields said in a speech on Wednesday.

"Even as we reduce our overall capacity in line with demand and make the tough but necessary cutbacks throughout our business to secure our future, we are not retreating one bit from the necessary investments to bring out more products for our customers," he said.

Fields also announced that Ford is invigorating its product line with a limited-edition, souped-up Mustang designed with racing legend Carroll Shelby and a new flagship sedan for the Lincoln luxury brand.

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