Ford Motor announced Thursday that it is cutting its dividend in half, and reducing the fees paid to board members. While chief executive Bill Ford Jr. stated that the move was intended to strengthen the company's liquidity position during its ongoing restructuring, analysts believe the measure is largely symbolic.

The cut to the quarterly dividend (from ten cents per share to five cents) will save the company about $373 million annually, certainly enough to keep the Autoblog staff in the style to which we would all like to become accustomed, but a drop in the bucket for Ford. The symbolism comes in the impact of the lowered dividend on the Ford family - unlike previous dividend reductions, Thursday's move includes the company's Class B shares, largely held by Ford family members. For his part, Bill Ford Jr. has already cut off his own compensation until such time as the automotive operation returns to profitability.

Ford shares lost 4.65 percent Thursday, bringing the stock's year to date decline to about 14 percent.

[Source: Reuters, Ford]

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