Ford plans to lay off white-collar employees later this year if it cannot achieve sufficient job cuts through attrition and the sale of noncore businesses, the Detroit News reported, citing Ford vice president of human resources Joe Laymon.

Laymon said the company should know by November whether layoffs are necessary, the newspaper added.

The Detroit News noted that Ford last January announced 1,500 white-collar reductions through buyouts, attrition and other measures on top of the 3,500 salaried jobs cut in 2001.

The newspaper said Ford this month completed a voluntary buyout programme that achieved part of the additional 1,500 job cuts but Laymon declined to say how many employees accepted buyouts or how many more jobs needed to be cut.

“We still reserve the right to use involuntary (layoffs) to get the 1,500,” Laymon told The Detroit News. “I can’t say yet whether we are going to have to do that or not.”

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Ford plans to closely monitor attrition levels along with the number of job cuts it achieves by selling ancillary businesses and divesting joint ventures, the Detroit News said.

“Before I pull the involuntary trigger, I have to have more clarity on those issues,” Laymon told the newspaper.

The Detroit News said Ford has actually added employees in certain areas, such as 1,000 engineers dedicated to finding less expensive ways to produce vehicles, which will make achieving a net reduction of 1,500 employees more difficult.