October 16, 2008 / 7:51 PM / in 11 years

Ford to idle St. Paul pickup plant for December

DETROIT, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (F.N) plans to idle the plant in St. Paul that builds the compact Ranger pickup truck for the month of December, a spokeswoman said on Thursday.

The plant normally would be down about a week in December due to the Christmas holiday period, but will be idled four weeks to align production with demand and resume operations in January, Ford spokeswoman Angie Kozleski said.

Ford had slated the plant to close in 2009, but in July announced it planned to keep it open through 2011 due to demand for compact pickup trucks. According to Ford facilities data, the plant has just under 1,000 hourly workers.

Sales of the Ranger pickup were down about 4.6 percent in 2008 through September, while the U.S. light truck market overall has been down nearly 21 percent. (Reporting by David Bailey)

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