DETROIT – Ford Motor Co., the only Detroit automaker to avoid bankruptcy protection, said Wednesday it will reduce its huge debt by another $4 billion as it continues to show signs of financial strength.

The Dearborn, Mich., automaker will pay $3.8 billion in cash to a United Auto Workers trust fund that pays retiree health care bills, and it will pay out $255 million in dividends on preferred securities that had been deferred as the automaker worked its way through financial troubles. The company now will make quarterly payments on the securities, which are a combination of preferred stock and bonds.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally said in a statement that the payments are another sign of confidence that the company’s restructuring plan is working.

“We expect to continue to improve our balance sheet as we deliver on our plan,” he said.

After the payment, Ford will still owe the UAW trust about $3.6 billion due by 2022, with an option to pay it over three years. The company said it intends to repay the note early but wouldn’t say when.

Shares of the automaker rose 20 cents, or 2 percent, to close at $10.08 on Wednesday.

The automaker said the actions, combined with a $3 billion debt payment in April, will reduce its total debt to $27 billion from $34 billion at the end of the first quarter. The payments will save Ford roughly $470 million in annual interest costs.