Ford Motor Co.'s new car factory under construction in Guaiba, Brazil, is expected to be geared to build about 170,000 vehicles annually. Lucky for Ford, the plant doesn't come on line until 2001. With Brazil's economy on the edge and auto sales and production sagging, automakers are being forced to lay off hundreds of workers, suspend production for weeks at a time and, in some cases, eliminate shifts because of depressed demand for their products. It wasn't supposed to be this way. ...

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