State Official Says Ford Assistance May Be Reduced

CLEVELAND (AP) - Ohio's $83 million offer of assistance to Ford could be reduced by at least half. That's because Ford will guarantee only 800 jobs when it begins building Escape sport-utility vehicles next year in Avon Lake.

State Development Director Bruce Johnson said that he will withdraw the incentive package that he offered the automaker in April. The change is a result of Ford's refusal to guarantee the jobs of 1,200 workers who currently build the Econoline and Club Wagon vans at the Ohio Assembly Plant.

The Plain Dealer reported on Friday that it's not clear whether the entire deal might now in jeopardy.

A Ford spokeswoman said that Ford was consistent in that the focus was on 800 jobs.

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