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Old 09-29-2003, 12:18   #1 (permalink)
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E.U:Ford to cut 1,700 German jobs

Reuters / September 29, 2003

FRANKFURT (Reuters) -- Ford Motor Co.'s German unit plans to cut a further 1,700 jobs by the end of this year, a German newspaper reported on Monday.

The workforce will be reduced through a retirement and layoffs that will principally hit Ford-Werke AG's Cologne operations, according to an article due to appear in Tuesday's edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.

Nobody at the German offices of the U.S. carmaker was immediately available to comment on the report, which cited company sources.

Cologne-based Ford-Werke currently employs about 38,000 staff, according to company data.

Weaker second-quarter profits in July saw Ford commit itself to further cost cuts as it highlighted the "unsatisfactory" performance of its loss-making European operations.

Ford Europe posted a $525 million loss in the second quarter and said recently that it wanted to be back in the black in the final three months of the year.
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Old 09-30-2003, 03:35   #2 (permalink)
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Re: E.U:Ford to cut 1,700 German jobs

Ford targets staff costs

3,200 job reduction worldwide aims for 10% savings goal

By Mike Hudson / The Detroit News

Trimming down
Ford's recent cost cutting:
* Cut personnel costs by 10 percent by year-end, including 1,700 job cuts in Germany, along with 1,500 U.S. contract employees and 50 salaried reductions.
* Securing UAW approval to close three North American assembly plants by mid-decade.
* Shrinking quarterly dividend to 10 cents per share from 30 cents per share.
* Reducing white collar overtime and holiday pay.
* Instituting a hiring freeze.
* Shifting more health care costs to salaried and retired white-collar workers.

DEARBORN -- Ford Motor Co. is planning to cut about 1,500 U.S.-based contract workers and another 50 salaried employees by the end of this year, company sources told The Detroit News.

Ford plans to notify affected employees of the decision within the next couple of weeks, the sources said. In addition, the automaker confirmed Monday it will eliminate 1,700 jobs at its German operations.

The layoffs are part of Ford's goal to cut worldwide personnel costs by 10 percent by the end of this year. Ford lost $6.4 billion in 2001 and 2002, but has earned $1.3 in net income through the first half of this year.

The automaker launched a sweeping turnaround plan in January 2002 aimed at delivering $6 billion in annual pre-tax profits by mid-decade.

In the United States, Ford plans to dismiss 50 of its salaried staff and about 1,500 contract employees who work for outside staffing firms. Some contract workers will be immediately dismissed, while others will leave Ford at the end of this year.

In Germany, the Ford-Werke division will cut 700 salaried and 1,000 production jobs to help stem Ford's European losses of $525 million in the second quarter, the company said in a statement. Ford officials said the company will achieve the reductions through buyout offers.

"Further cost-cutting measures concerning supplementary payments such as Christmas and anniversary bonuses are currently being discussed with the works council," said Wolfgang Riecke, director of communications for Ford of Germany.

Ford expects to report a loss in the third quarter, which ends today, driven by steep discounts and incentives on vehicles and increasing foreign competition.

The automaker has already slashed overtime pay and increased health insurance premiums for white collar workers to reduce costs. The company has also implemented a hiring freeze, keeping hundreds of positions open after workers enter retirement.

Ford's blue-collar workforce is also feeling the pinch as Ford will close three North American assembly plants by mid-decade. Ford's 72,000 United Auto Workers employees will also have their wages frozen until late 2005 under a new four-year labor agreement.
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Old 09-30-2003, 03:42   #3 (permalink)
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Re: E.U:Ford to cut 1,700 German jobs

Ford will cut costs and 3,200 more jobs

Positions in North America and Germany are on chopping block
September 30, 2003

BY SARAH A. WEBSTER
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

Ford Motor Co., under a mandate to cut white-collar expenses by 10 percent and keep its turnaround plan on track, is cutting 1,500 contract workers in North America and offering voluntary buyouts to 1,700 salaried and blue-collar employees in its German division.

In addition, 50 of Ford's salaried workers will be laid off by the end of the year and many jobs that have been sitting vacant are now being eliminated, according to a company official who did not want to be identified because all affected workers have not been notified.

Many of the contractors, who work at Ford but are employed by local suppliers such as MSX International Inc. in Southfield, will be told they are losing their jobs this week and a group of them will be let go today, according to people familiar with the staffing changes.

The contractors include engineers, technicians and professionals in the purchasing division, among others, and some suppliers are worried that managers at Ford will struggle to get their work done with a bare-bones staff that keeps getting thinner.

"The workload goes on," said an official at one company that supplies engineers to Ford. "They've already been living with jobs that couldn't be replaced -- now this."

In July, the Dearborn-based automaker said it would need to further trim salaried costs in order to meet its earnings target of $1.25 billion, or 70 cents a share, this year and to make $7 billion in profits, before taxes, by mid-decade. Ford, which boosted its cost-cutting goal to $2.5 billion for the year from its initial target of $500 million, cut costs by $1.3 billion in the second quarter.

The stepped-up effort follows the company's previously announced plan to close five plants and eliminate 21,500 jobs in North America as part of its 2002 revitalization effort.

Some experts who track the auto industry for investors had warned that the 2002 plan didn't go far enough to rescue Ford, which lost a combined $6.4 billion in 2001 and 2002. They have been similarly critical of Ford's recently ratified contract with the UAW. That deal may be viewed as concessionary, compared with prior agreements, but workers didn't take a vow of poverty.

Over four years, the new pact would yield $17,400 in financial gains for the rank and file, compared with $29,300 in the 1999 contract. Hourly workers will receive a $3,000 signing bonus as part of the latest deal, a 3-percent bonus next year and raises of 2 percent and 3 percent in the third and fourth years.

And while the deal allows the automaker to close five plants, it spared a suburban St. Louis assembly plant with 2,500 workers from the chopping block after receiving millions of dollars in government incentives. Thus, fewer than 3,000 union employees -- or 3 percent of Ford's hourly workforce -- are expected to be affected by plant closings.

Despite criticism from outsiders, though, Ford has emphasized that it remains on track for the year despite projections of a 15-cent loss per share in the July-September period.

Profits were down 27 percent in the second quarter, to $417 million, or 22 cents a share, but the world's second-largest automaker beat Wall Street estimates of 19 cents a share for the April-June period.

The voluntary retirement and compensation packages being offered at Ford's German division, Ford-Werke AG, are expected to shed 700 salaried and 1,000 blue-collar jobs. That represents about 6 percent of the division's workforce.

Despite intensified cost-cutting efforts, Ford of Europe reported a loss of $525 million in the second quarter, compared with a loss of $18 million in the same period a year ago.

Speaking only of the changes in Germany, Ford spokesman Ken Zino said, "It's part of the ongoing effort to reduce costs."

Ford isn't the only local automaker struggling with heavy operating costs and declining market share, which is now being won by foreign competitors such as Toyota, Honda and Nissan.

DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group, Ford's crosstown rival in Auburn Hills, reported a loss of $1.1 billion in the second quarter and recently announced that white-collar workers will get no merit raises this year. They will instead get a $2,000 tax-free bonus in their retirement accounts and a company match program will resume. The German-owned company is also studying whether additional changes to its operations are necessary.
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My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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