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Ford to close Ohio plant in '09, cut jobs

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co.'s financial troubles claimed more victims yesterday when the company said it will close a casting plant in Ohio in 2009, costing 1,100 hourly workers their jobs.

The number two US automaker also said it will mothball the nearby Cleveland Engine Plant 1 for at least a year starting in two weeks due to lower-than-expected demand for its products.

The future of that plant's 530 hourly workers is under negotiation with the United Auto Workers union, but a company official said the plant would reopen with fewer than 500 production workers because it would be more efficient.

A second engine plant at a three-factory complex just west of Cleveland in Brook Park, will remain open, Ford said.

"These are difficult actions, and we're approaching them with great sensitivity because they involve our people," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford's vice president of North American manufacturing.