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Ford pension plan funding drops in 2011

Ford pension plan funding drops in 2011

DEARBORN, Mich.—The funded status of Ford Motor Co.'s U.S. pension plans slumped in 2011 as investment returns dropped sharply from the prior year.

At year-end 2011, the plans were underfunded by $9.4 billion, compared with $6.7 billion at year-end 2010, according to financial reports Ford released Friday.

Investment returns on plan assets fell to 7.7% compared with 14% in 2010.

Ford didn't disclose the plans' actual assets and liabilities. Such disclosure will come in several weeks when the big automaker releases its 10-K report for 2011.

Ford reported benefit obligations of $46.6 billion in 2010 and plan assets of just under $40 billion.

It didn't disclose the amount it contributed last year to its U.S. pension plans but said it made $1.1 billion in contributions to its plans within and outside of the United States.

Ford says it intends to contribute $3.5 billion to its plans, including $2 billion to its U.S. pension plans, in 2012.