DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co., the only U.S. automaker operating without federal loans, burned through $5.5 billion in cash during the final three months of 2008 as losses mounted.
Ford finished the year with cash reserves of $13.4 billion. The company said it is drawing down $10.1 billion in available credit lines immediately because of concerns about unstable capital markets and the uncertain economy.
Ford reported a net loss of $5.9 billion for the fourth quarter, compared with a loss of $2.8 billion a year earlier, capping its third straight year without a profit. The pretax operating loss, excluding special items, was $3.7 billion, compared with a loss of $620 million during the same period in 2007.
"Ford and the entire auto industry faced an extraordinary slowdown in all major global markets in the fourth quarter that clearly had an impact on our results," CEO Alan Mulally said in a statement.
Some analysts say Ford needs at least $10 billion on hand to run its operations. At the fourth-quarter cash burn rate of $1.83 billion a month and not taking other steps into account, Ford was on a pace to cross that threshold by the end of February.
CFO Lewis Booth said today that won't be the case, because the company's expects to deplete its cash reserves more slowly this year.
"We look at our burn rate every day," Booth said. "We are confident that our burn rate will substantially slow in 2009, including in the first quarter."