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Ford to hire 7,000 workers

By Chris Isidore, senior writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Ford Motor announced Monday it will add 7,000 new hourly and salaried jobs in the United States by the end of 2012.

The announcement, made on the opening day of the Detroit auto show, said Ford (F, Fortune 500) is adding nearly 4,000 hourly jobs at several of its U.S. plants this year, including 1,800 at the Louisville Assembly Plant, where it plans to start building the new design of the Ford Escape crossover SUV later in the year.

And the company plans to add another 2,500 factory jobs next year.

Ford also will add 750 salaried engineering jobs in product development and manufacturing. The engineers will specialize in batteries, system controls, software and energy storage to work on electric vehicles in Detroit and eight other cities: Boston; Chicago; Cincinnati; Columbus, Ohio; Milwaukee; Raleigh and Durham, N.C.; and San Jose, Calif.

The company has cut staff substantially since 2001. And the new workers will only replace a fraction of the employees lost to the recession. Ford had 61,000 U.S. employees at the end of 2010, according to a company spokeswoman. That's down from 76,000 at the end of 2007, and 163,000 employees 10 years ago.

But Ford has been posting improved sales and U.S. market share in the last two years. Its U.S. sales were up 20% in 2010, enough to add 1.2 percentage points to its market share, according to Autodata.

And a survey of 200 top auto executives from around the globe by accounting firm KPMG is expecting Ford to add additional global market share over the next five years. To top of page

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