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Ford Likely To Halt Production Of T-Bird

Ford Motor Co. is expected to announce as soon as Monday that it will halt production of the Thunderbird car, confirming months of industry speculation, analysts said.

About 1,800 people make the Thunderbird and its twin, the Mercury Cougar, at a plant in Lorain, Ohio. The plant near Cleveland, which also produces Econoline and Club Wagon commercial vans, employs 3,800 people in all, with about half working on the vans.

The Thunderbird “just loses way too much money,” said Joseph Phillippi, a Lehman Brothers analyst who said he has learned of the planned announcement from people inside Ford. “The market’s just not there for them.”

Sales of the Thunderbird, which peaked at 350,000 in 1977, fell last year to 79,721.

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