updated 11/14/2006 12:03:53 PM ET 2006-11-14T17:03:53

Accounting errors dating to 2001 forced Ford Motor Co. to restate its earnings on Tuesday, raising the company’s net income for those years by $850 million.

The errors, caused by the way Ford accounted for interest rate hedging by its financial arm, Ford Motor Credit Co., also narrowed the company’s net loss for the first nine months of this year to $7 billion from $7.25 billion, the company said in a statement.

Ford said the errors stemmed from accounting for interest rate swaps, financial instruments used to hedge money loaned to buy cars against changing interest rates. They were discovered after a review of the company’s accounting procedures found a “material weakness.”

“That material weakness has been fully remediated with the completion of this restatement,” Chief Financial Officer Don Leclair said in a statement.

The company said its 2001 net loss narrowed to $4.8 billion from $5.5 billion due to the changes, while a $1 billion loss in 2002 became a profit of $900 million. For 2003, when interest rates began rising, the company’s net income of $500 million was reduced to $200 million, and in 2004, the company’s net income dropped to $3 billion from $3.5 billion. A $2 billion net income in 2005 dropped to $1.4 billion, the company said

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