Ford’s chief executive Alan Mulally has said the automaker could make more cuts if it can’t lure more customers into US showrooms.

“If demand goes down substantially more than what we are predicting, then we’ll continue to restructure our business to that new demand,” Mulally said at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, according to Agence France Press (AFP).

The company, in the process of laying off about 40,000 workers and closing 16 plants in North America, will announce 2007 full-year results on Thursday.

AFP said Mulally expressed confidence in his company’s turnaround plan and noted its global operations are doing well. Most losses are in the US where Asian rivals have made market share gains at Ford’s expense and it was beaten into second place in unit sales by Toyota last year.

“The plan we put in place is absolutely the right plan,” Mulally was quoted as saying at the conference, adding that Ford has sufficient liquidity to “keep on investing in new products.”

Ford plans to update and refresh its entire US lineup in the next few years. It already builds some 60% of its vehicles outside the United States and will expand the use of vehicles built overseas to help reduce costs, he said.

“We really are a global company,” Mulally said. “There is going to be more and more innovation in smaller cars.”

According to AFP, he said Ford has no intention of building a $US2,500 dollar car to compete with Tata Motors but does have several smaller, lower cost vehicles that have sold well in markets around the world.

“Ford is going to stick to what we can be competitive at,” he said.