DETROIT -- A company-wide cost-cutting initiative at Ford Motor Co. will not affect its future product programs, including a plan to significantly expand its hybrid vehicle lineup by 2010, a Ford executive said on Wednesday.
"Cost cutting is really not focused on our product portfolio," Barb Samardzich, vice president of powertrain operations, told reporters after unveiling Ford's new 3.5-liter V-6 engine.
"None whatsoever," she said, adding that Ford is moving ahead with its plan to develop key components of the hybrid powertrain in house.
Ford has initiated a number of belt-tightening measures this year, including eliminating 2,750 white-collar jobs in North America. The automaker, which posted a $284 million third-quarter loss, is struggling with strong competition, soaring health care and raw material costs, and a slide in U.S. market share.
Ford recently said it was planning to boost global production of fuel-sipping hybrid vehicles tenfold to 250,000 annually by 2010. More than half of the company's vehicles are expected to have hybrid capability by then.
"There is no concern on meeting that commitment," Samardzich said.
Ford said the new V-6 engine will be introduced next year in two new SUVs, the Ford Edge and an all-new Lincoln Aviator.
The new engine, which is expected to improve fuel economy by up to 7 percent when combined with a 6-speed transmission, will eventually power one in five Ford vehicles on the road by the end of the decade, Samardzich said.