Automotive parts supplier Lear Corporation is eliminating 6,500 jobs and shutting 21 factories, according to Associated Press (AP) which added that the cuts and closures began in December.

The company made the announcement on Friday as it reported a fourth quarter loss of $US48.8 million, or 74 cents a share, for the fourth quarter of 2001, down from earnings of $72.4 million, or $1.12 a share, for the same period the previous year, AP said.

Lear, the world's fifth-largest automotive components supplier, reported 2001 earnings of $26.3 million, or 40 cents a share, compared to earnings of $274.7 million, or $4.17 a share, in 2000, AP said.

AP cited Dave Wajsgras, Lear chief financial officer, as saying that about 2,500 jobs were reduced by the end of last year, and three facilities were closed.

Of the 21 targeted, 16 are in North and South America, AP added.