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Ford Loses Less Money Than Expected

Ford, the only major U.S. automaker not to take a government bailout, has reported a loss of $1.4 billion for the first three months of 2009 and says sales fell 43 percent.

Shares in the company gained in value after the results were released Friday, because the company showed less of a loss than analysts had predicted. Ford predicts efforts to slash expenses and produce new cars will help the company break even in 2011.

Meanwhile, Chrysler is making some progress as it approaches an April 30 deadline to restructure or lose any future government financial help.

Officials say the number-three U.S. automaker may be nearing an agreement with creditors to forgive nearly half of the company's debt. And the union representing Chrysler's Canadian workers says it has reached a tentative agreement to help cut costs.

Earlier Friday, the U.S. Treasury Department gave General Motors another $2 billion in low interest loans as the auto giant struggles to restructure.

GM faces a possible bankruptcy if it fails to revamp the company by a June 1 deadline set by the Obama administration.

Media reports Friday said the top U.S. automaker will eliminate its Pontiac brand, known for making sporty "muscle cars," next week.

Like GM, Chrysler is in danger of bankruptcy and has been told by the U.S. government to form an alliance with Italian carmaker Fiat.

Officials have been preparing for a possible Chrysler bankruptcy as soon as next week in case a deal with Fiat falls through.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.