Ford cuts 500 more Ontario jobs as U.S. sales slide

Wed Sep 10, 2008 2:43pm EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Ford Canada F.N said on Wednesday it will cut another 500 jobs at its Oakville, Ontario, assembly plant as U.S. sales continue to deteriorate.

Ford will scrap the third shift in the paint and body areas of the plant, where it makes the Ford Edge, the Lincoln MKX and the Ford Flex.

The job losses come as high gasoline prices, tight credit and a worsening housing market hit consumer confidence in the United States, where most vehicles made in Canada are sold.

"This has lead to a general softening of vehicle sales in the U.S.," said Lauren More, spokeswoman for Ford Canada.

"It is now expected that U.S. industry sales will be in the 14 to 14.5 million unit range, down from more than 16 million last year."

More said no layoff notices have been sent out and the company was offering incentives to get staffing levels down to meet production levels.

Bob Chernecki, assistant to the president at the Canadian Auto Workers, said the union was working with the company to avoid layoffs.

Detroit-based Ford said in July it would put a planned shift at the Oakville plant on hold indefinitely, throwing 350 positions into limbo.

The Canadian government said last week it would invest C$80 million in a new Ford flexible engine plant in Windsor, that would "create or sustain" nearly 800 jobs.

The CAW blasted the government, describing the pre-election announcement as too little, too late.

(Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Janet Guttsman)

<p>The new Ford Flex and the Ford Edge share this assembly line at the company's Oakville Plant June 3, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill</p>