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For the entire month of December, Ford's plant in St. Paul, Minnesota, where about 1,000 workers assemble the Ford Ranger, will shut down. According to reports, it is normal for the plant to be closed for the week of Christmas, but an additional three weeks of downtime is necessary to "align production with demand."

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The Detroit News reports that Ford has decided to halt its plans to build a low-cost auto plant in the southern U.S. The newspaper says Ford had intended the plant to be a UAW "beachhead" in an area of the U.S. covered with Japanese and German-owned plants. In exchange, the UAW was to give Ford competitive worker agreements at the plant so that cost-competitive cars could be produced there. Ford Americas President Mark Fields, however, pointed out the plan is not dead, just idled.

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