Ford to dely Production cuts
Ford to delay production cuts at five plants because of demand
Dearborn, Mich. -- Ford Motor Co., the second-largest automaker, said it will delay production cuts at five plants in the U.S. and Canada because of increased demand for new cars and light trucks.
The plants are in Chicago, Atlanta; Wayne, Michigan; Louisville, Kentucky; and St. Thomas, Ontario, spokesman Ed Lewis said. The move will affect a total of about 575 workers at the four U.S. plants. Ford couldn't provide a figure for the Ontario factory.
"I don't think sales in 2002 are setting the world on fire but they are at a level that is higher than we and others thought it would be," said Ford sales analyst George Pipas.
The automaker will issue a second-production estimate for North American plants tomorrow, Pipas said. The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker produced 1.13 million vehicles in the region during the second quarter of 2001. Larger rival General Motors Corp. this week raised its first-quarter output plan.
The production cuts in Chicago and Atlanta were pushed back to August from March, Lewis said. About 275 jobs will be cut when the lower output begins, he said. The factories make Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable sedans.
A line-speed reduction at the Wayne factory, which makes the Focus small car, is being postponed by one month to June, Lewis said. About 70 jobs are affected, he said.
Lower production at Louisville, which builds Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer sport-utility vehicles, was delayed from June, with no new date set. About 230 employees will be affected when the cuts occur, Lewis said.
The output reduction at the Ontario factory was moved back to the fourth quarter from midyear, spokesman John Arnone said. The plant makes Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis cars.
Ford shares fell 42 cents to $14.88. The stock has declined 46 percent in the past 12 months.
BY BILL KOENIG