I do believe Ford will become the top US auto manufacturer very soon. Their CEO really knows what he is doing and has both a vision AND a plan. Ford slashes debt by $9.9 billion 25 mins ago DETROIT (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co (F.N) has reduced its automotive debt by 38 percent, or $9.9 billion, part of a series of moves to bolster its finances amid the global automotive downturn, the company said on Monday.. The debt reduction will reduce Ford's annual cash interest expense by more than $500 million, it said. Ford, the only U.S. automaker that has not sought emergency U.S. government loans, is using $2.4 billion in cash and 468 million shares of its common stock to reduce its outstanding automotive debt by $9.9 billion from $25.8 billion at the end of 2008. Ford has also reached an agreement with the United Auto Workers union that would slash cash payments for its retiree health care and is powering ahead of domestic rivals General Motors Corp (GM.N) and Chrysler in restructuring to survive the lowest U.S. auto sales in nearly three decades. "By substantially reducing our debt, Ford is taking another step toward creating an exciting, viable enterprise," Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally said in a statement. "As with our recent agreements with the UAW, Ford continues to lead the industry in taking the decisive actions necessary to weather the current downturn and deliver long-term profitable growth," Mulally said. Ford, through its finance arm Ford Motor Credit, used $1 billion in cash to buy back $2.2 billion of debt at 47 cents on the dollar, and $1.1 billion in cash to purchase $3.4 billion of unsecured notes. In addition, $4.3 billion of Ford's 4.25 percent senior convertible notes were tendered by April 3, when a debt restructuring offer closed. Ford will use $344 million to pay a cash premium to noteholders who tendered.