While the death watch continues over Mitsubishi’s future in Australian car manufacturing, there’s precious little comfort for the local Ford operation in last night’s ocean of red ink declared by its Michigan parent.

In a masterly piece of understatement, Ford’s new president and CEO, Alan Mulally, announced that losing US$5.8 billion in the September quarter was “unacceptable“.

But wait, there’s more – the December quarter is looking worse.

Ford’s loss from continuing operations for the three months to September was US$1.2 billion with “special items” blowing the total out to $5.8 billion. While the disaster is biggest at home in the US, the company also blamed “operating challenges” in Asia Pacific and most of the rest of the world.

Announced changes have been concentrated on North America where the company doesn’t expect to make a profit until 2009.

Still, it’s hard to take seriously anything from a CEO who is capable of making such a banal and empty statement as: “We are committed to moving from here to create a viable business going forward.”

While large car sales are languishing in Australia, any profit at all begins to look good by comparison. Keep the LPG subsidy coming – the Falcon needs it.