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Ford To Speed Up Debt Repayment

CEO Alan Mulally says the automaker plans to speed up debt repayment after gaining market share while its Detroit competitors GM and Chrysler went bankrupt.

WAYNE, Mich. (AP) -- Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally says the automaker plans to speed up its debt repayment as its financial condition continues to improve.

Mulally also told reporters at a briefing Friday on its new vehicles that Ford will keep its advantage over Chrysler and General Motors next year. Ford has gained sales and market share while its Detroit competitors were forced to take government aid and go through bankruptcy protection.

Ford has about $27 billion in debt. Mulally says the company repaid $10 billion this year and plans to sell $1.6 billion worth of stock.

He says the automaker will accelerate payments as it continues to move toward profitability in 2011.

Ford mortgaged all of its assets three years ago to borrow $23.5 billion. The loans allowed it to avoid bankruptcy and the government aid that GM and Chrysler needed to survive.

"Everybody knows how fast we are getting back to profitability and free cash flow," Mulally said. "Then we'll just accelerate the improvements to the balance sheet."

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