Ford in talks to sell auto brands

(Reuters) Ford Motor Co. is in talks to sell some luxury-auto brands to an investment group led by its former Chief Executive Officer Jacques Nasser, Bloomberg news service reported on its Web site, citing four people familiar with the discussions.
The discussions focus on Jaguar and Land Rover, Bloomberg cited one of the people saying. The article said the talks are with JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s One Equity Partners LLC, where it said Nasser is senior partner for mergers and acquisition.
The talks with Nasser, which could result in a joint venture rather than an outright acquisition, don't involve Volvo, the article said.
Nasser was ousted from his position as Ford's president and chief executive in October 2001, amid mounting troubles at the company at the time. His departure came shortly after the company reported a $692 million third-quarter loss on top of a loss the previous quarter.
JPMorgan and Ford were not immediately available for comment.
Ford, based in Dearborn, Michigan, is under pressure to speed up cost-cutting efforts after a $254 million loss in the second quarter 2006 and worse-than-expected July U.S. sales.
Ford's U.S. vehicle sales have fallen almost 10 percent through July, a month in which Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp. (7203.T) outsold Ford for the first time.
Battling shrinking U.S. market share and rising costs, Ford has said it will accelerate its turnaround plan, dubbed the "Way Forward," to respond to weakening U.S. demand for fuel-hungry trucks and SUVs amid high gasoline prices.
Yet another $.02 worth from a proud owner of a 1970 Mach 1 @

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