NORFOLK, VA --Attendance at Ford Motor Co.'s mid-May annual meeting slipped for the second consecutive year as once again it moved the yearly show to one of its "plant cities."

Last year 480 owners attended the meeting in Cleveland, OH. This year Ford moves the meeting here, where a Ford truck plant is celebrating its 70th anniversary. Norfolk is not exactly located on the jetstream, and besides Ford stockholders don't have much to gripe about. As a result, only 350 show up. That contrasts with nearly 1,000 who attended the 1993 meeting in Detroit, which should come as no surprise.

Stockholders attending the 90-minute meeting hear Chairman Alex Trotman say Ford will expand its worldwide vehicle lineup with 16 new car and truck launches during the next five years. Some will be replacements for existing models, but a number will represent additions to Ford's 32 vehicle lines. At the same time, the world's second-largest automaker will reduce its powertrain combinations by 30%, saving the company several billions, Mr. Trotman says.

He also boasts that after five months the Ford 2000 global reorganization is proving successful, putting down persistent reports that it's going about as smoothly as a fast drive on a Belgian-block test pad. "Even though we're just getting started, Ford Automotive Operations already has produced major results in repositioning our company in this faster world," says Mr. Trotman.

Examples of Ford 2000 success, says the chairman, is streamlining management for more efficient decision making, reducing vehicle-development time from 36 to 24 months, identifying process savings of more than $100 million, and introducing global cash management, allowing Ford's treasury operations to increase portfolio returns by $20 million.