Ford has confirmed it hasn’t met a target it set for itself to eliminate six corporate executive positions, Dow Jones said.

The company told employees in July it would reduce the number of its highest-paid executives by 12%, Dow Jones noted, citing a Detroit Free Press report. In July Ford had 52 top-level executives, so the goal would have been to reach 46.

Ford spokeswoman Ann Marie Gattari confirmed to Dow Jones that Ford now has 53 top executives and said the number has not dipped to 46 since the announcement.

“The numbers fluctuate and depend on the needs of the business,” Gattari reportedly said. “It’s important to retain talent now that we’re making progress.”

According to Dow Jones, she noted that Ford’s earnings, released on Thursday, showed “the eighth quarter that we’re making progress.” The company reported earnings of 31 cents a share, excluding special items, compared with 11 cents a share in the same period a year ago, the report added.

Dow Jones said Ford’s revitalisation plan, announced in January 2002, called for a workforce reduction of 35,000 positions and the company has said it will meet that target by the end of 2004 or early in 2005.