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FORD, FORD CREDIT 'A+' SENIOR DEBT AFFIRMED BY FITCH, TREND NOW STABLE -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 NEW YORK, May 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Ford Motor Co. and Ford Motor Credit Co.'s 'A+' senior debt, and Ford Credit's 'F-1' commercial paper ratings are affirmed by Fitch. The action applies to $8.1 billion of Ford Motor senior debt, $27 billion of Ford Credit senior debt, and $23 billion of outstanding commercial paper. The credit trend for both companies is changed to stable from declining.
 The affirmation is based on Ford's improving domestic market share and successful new product launches, strong balance sheet, and cost and capacity disciplines. These factors should support an appreciable lift in Ford's U.S. automotive earnings if market progress can be sustained. In an interval of automotive losses, the contribution from Ford's financial services businesses almost tripled, supporting total enterprise results. Even after $6.9 billion of noncash net charges for accounting changes, Ford's automotive debt leverage of about 40 percent is still reasonable, and total automotive debt has been contained. At March 31, 1993, automotive cash and securities were $9.3 billion, versus total debt of $8.1 billion.
 Ford still faces formidable challenges in its automotive business. European operations, once a major earnings contributor, are likely to post another, although smaller, loss in 1993, as those markets continue to weaken and Jaguar remains unprofitable. The company must also sustain cash flow progress to fund higher product spending and maintain its competitive position. Along with this spending, Ford must continue to shorten product development times. Although the company successfully raised substantial funds in the capital markets in recent years, its ability to continue to do this may now be somewhat limited if its healthy balance sheet is to be preserved. Finally, Ford must negotiate a new UAW contract this year, and has encountered labor difficulties as it downsized its European work force.
 -0- 5/12/93
 /CONTACT: Mary Anne Sudol, CFA, 212-908-0562 (Ford Motor), or Nancy E. Stroker, CFA, 212-908-9533 (Ford Motor Credit), both of Fitch/
 (F)


CO: Ford Motor Co.; Ford Motor Credit Co. ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU: RTG

SH -- NY056 -- 7559 05/12/93 12:01 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 12, 1993
Words:347
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