DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) _ Ford Motor Co. has eliminated bonuses for its top 6,000 executives and managers this year.

An e-mail message was sent to top managers from David Murphy, Ford's vice president in charge of human resources, The Detroit News reported.

Ford officials confirmed the bonus cut but no formal announcement was made.

``Unfortunately, a combination of Firestone tire replacement costs and deteriorating market and economic conditions indicates that we will not pay a bonus for performance in 2001,'' Murphy wrote.

Last year, bonuses totaled $442 million. The annual cash payouts would have been distributed early next year.

The decision comes shortly after Ford's move to cut up to 5,000 jobs in North America by the end of the year. Ford said the job cuts were the first step of an intensive review of its operations that is expected to include other cost-cutting actions.

Bonuses for 42,000 lower-level salaried employees will be determined by a formula that takes into account the automaker's financial performance in North America.

Profit-sharing checks for Ford's 103,500 blue collar workers will be determined by a formula outlined in Ford's labor agreement with the United Auto Workers.

The payouts to both groups for 2001 will be dramatically lower than in 2000, Ford officials said.

Last year, Ford's blue-collar workers received profit-sharing payments of $6,700, the highest of Detroit's automakers.

The loss of bonuses is likely to help Ford downsize the company because more workers will be willing to consider early retirement packages, said analyst Rod Lache of Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown.

``From a restructuring standpoint, this is a positive,'' Lache told The Detroit News. ``It shouldn't surprise anyone. Bonuses are related to profits and profitability is going to be down significantly.''