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Ford's Mexico unit sees 2001 output down 11%

MEXICO CITY - The Mexico unit of Ford Motor Co. said on Tuesday it expects its output in Mexico this year to fall about 11 percent from 2000 and will be flat next year.

Ford spokesman Juan Antonio Garcia said the Mexican unit expected to end the year with output of 248,190 units, down from 278,587 in 2000, and that there would be little change in 2002.

"We expect to maintain the same levels of production (in 2002) but there is nothing certain," Garcia told Reuters at a auto industry trade expo in Mexico City.

Ford has three plants in Mexico and about 80 percent of its production goes to export, primarily in the United States.

As demand was hit by this year's economic slowdown in the United States and Mexico, Ford twice suspended production at its plant in the northern state of Sonora and Garcia said similar measures would be taken again next year if needed.

He said 2002 output would depend largely on the U.S. economy and the timing of its rebound. "That is the great uncertainty."

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