Ford expects North American production to be down 8 to 12% in the first six months of 2007 from the same period this year to bring manufacturing in line with lower demand for its products.

The estimate by the automaker's chief financial officer Don Leclair, reported by Automotive News, was confirmed on Monday to the Associated Press (AP) by Ford spokesman Oscar Suris.

Production in the second half of next year, Suris reportedly said, was expected to be up 5 to 10% compared with the second half of 2006.

Ford last week posted a $5.8bn loss due to sagging North American sales and huge costs associated with a massive restructuring plan, AP noted, adding that it was the automaker's largest quarterly loss in more than 14 years.