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Ford goes into profit for first time in four years

FORD has posted an annual profit for the first time in four years.

The carmaker made $2.7bn (£1.7bn) in 2009 – compared with a loss of nearly $15bn in 2008.

Ford said its return to profitability was in part due to cutting costs and reducing debt levels.

The company’s workforce has been slashed from 89,000 to 80,000 as a result of buyouts and redundancies.

Revenue for the full year was $118.3bn, $19.8bn less than in 2008 – but the cuts helped to produce the profit.

The carmaker's big rivals General Motors and Chrysler, which together with Ford make up the so-called Detroit Three, both took billions of dollars in state aid and went into bankruptcy protection last summer.

Ford president and chief executive Alan Mulally said: "While we still face significant challenges ahead, 2009 was a pivotal year for Ford and the strongest proof yet that our One Ford plan is working and that we are forging a path toward profitable growth."

Most carmakers struggled last year because of falling sales during the global recession.

The so-called "cash-for-clunkers" scheme in the US – scrappage in the UK – helped to fuel sales.