DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. says it isn't ruling out deeper white-collar job cuts than it announced previously.
In April, Ford said it would eliminate about 1,000 salaried positions in North America. It followed in June with plans to cut another 1,700 jobs, or 5 percent of its U.S. salaried automotive work force.
Further reductions are possible, Ford spokesman Oscar Suris acknowledges.
"We do have operating challenges," Suris says. "They include issues regarding our cost structure and our excess capacity. And we are at work developing plans to address those that go beyond some of the things we've already announced."
Suris refused to comment on a report in The Wall Street Journal that Ford is studying a plan to eliminate as much as 30 percent of its salaried North American work force - about 10,500jobs - in the next few years.
Ford has about 35,000 salaried employees in its North American automotive operations, Suris says. The company has 45,000 salaried workers in the United States, including employees of Ford Motor Credit Co.
During an earnings conference call Tuesday, July 19, Ford CFO Don Leclair said "nothing is off the table" as the company works to improve its cost structure.
Ford has not met its cost-reduction targets this year. Executives cite higher prices for commodities and the inability of troubled suppliers to achieve productivity gains.
Ford's profits dropped by 18.8 percent in the second quarter of 2005 as its U.S. sales volume and market share continued to fall. The company's North American automotive business posted a quarterly pre-tax loss of $907 million.
Last week Ford dismissed several employees in its public relations department. Outside of Ford Credit, they were the first involuntary separations to result from the previously announced job cut targets, Suris says.
"We only took the unfortunate step of having to do involuntary separations because we couldn't meet our objectives through voluntary separations," he says.
Suris wouldn't confirm the number of public relations departures. Other sources said 20 to 25 employees were dismissed.
Ford says the April job initiative is complete. About 1,100 employees left the company in the first phase, Ford adds.
The company has set an Oct. 1 target to complete its next phase of 1,700 white-collar job cuts. Suris says more involuntary layoffs may be needed to meet that goal.
You may e-mail Amy Wilson at