updated 2/16/2007 4:00:12 PM ET 2007-02-16T21:00:12

Ford Motor Co. executives conceded in a report to employees that the company is failing to meet key goals in its turnaround plan, two media organizations reported Friday.

Ford said in the report, obtained by The Detroit News and Dow Jones, that it missed its U.S. retail sales goal for the compact Focus in January by 10,600 vehicles and now expects to miss its retail market-share goals for February and March.

It also will miss its targets for February and March for reduction in material costs by a 15 percent to 20 percent margin, though it hit the goal of $400 million in savings in January, the news organizations reported, citing the internal report.

In afternoon trading, Ford's shares were down a penny at $8.59 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Fewer than half the company's employees surveyed are confident in Ford's long-term success, according to the internal memo.

But Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, told The Associated Press on Friday that employees were understandably nervous given the $12.7 billion loss reported for 2006 and its effort to cut tens of thousands of jobs.

"The good news is the trend we show ... that the morale surveys are heading in the right direction," said Fields, who was in San Antonio to speak to the chamber of commerce. "You'd expect it to be tepid right now."

Fields came to San Antonio, the home of Toyota Motor Corp.'s newest U.S. assembly plant, to tell business leaders that domestic automakers remain an important part of the economy. Toyota opened a Tundra truck assembly plant here last year.

"It concerns me that too many people downplay the importance of the homegrown auto industry," he said.

Even with job cuts announced by Ford and other domestic auto companies, Ford, General Motors Corp. and DaimlerChrysler Corp. will continue to employ 300,000 people in the United States, he said. Ford expects to cut about 38,000 blue collar jobs by fall and 10,000 salaried jobs this quarter.

Fields said he believes that better product appeal and reducing costs will help improve the margins despite the highly competitive car market.

In the next week or so, company officials will know how many of its salaried workers have accepted buyout offers. He said Friday he was unsure how close the company was to meeting its goal of 10,000 this quarter.

"People really don't make their decision until right before" the deadline, he said.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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