With its unsecured debt trading at levels more in line with a double-B credit rating, Ford Motor Credit has greatly reduced its borrowing this year, while stepping up its ABS issuance. But the relatively modest amount of liquidity Ford requires in the coming 15 months, combined with a diverse base of securitization vehicles, the company should be in good position to navigate rough waters ahead, noted Alex Roever, group head of ABS research at Banc One Capital Markets.

Also last week, Merrill Lynch & Co. released a report concurring with Banc One, noting a still fairly large investor base for Ford paper. The recent spread widening is more a function of increased scrutiny in both the unsecured market and widening in the broader ABS market in general, researchers at Merrill noted.

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