DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. narrowed its losses in the fourth quarter amid continued weakness in North America, said the outlook for U.S. sales in 2008 remains grim and is making more employee buyout offers to cut costs.

Ford is offering buyouts to its 54,000 U.S. hourly workers, Chief Executive Alan Mulally said. Mulally said salaried cuts will also be made, mostly through attrition. The company will also adjust production schedules as demand sags.

Ford predicted its U.S. market share will be at the low end of a 14 to 15 percent range in 2008, down from 14.8 percent in 2007, as high gas prices and consumers' economic worries continue to slow the market. Ford fell behind Toyota Motor Corp. in U.S. sales last year, ceding its long-held position as the nation's No. 2 auto seller.

In a conference call with analysts and media, Mulally said the United Auto Workers union agreed to two rounds of buyouts at its U.S. plants, with workers expected to leave the company by either March 1 or April 1. He said the bulk of the separations were expected to occur in the second quarter. The buyouts come in addition to a round of buyouts in 2006, when 33,600 U.S. hourly workers left the company.

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Ford Loss Narrows in 4Q, Offers Buyouts

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