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Old 10-01-2003, 06:57   #1 (permalink)
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U.S.A.:Ford job cuts grow to 8,200, more Euro cuts...

Automaker trims 3,000 more jobs in Europe as it struggles to turn profit slide around

By Mike Hudson / The Detroit News

DEARBORN -- Ford Motor Co. announced today that it is cutting 3,000 jobs at its plant in Genk, Belgium, adding to 5,200 job cuts in the United States and Europe the automaker has already disclosed in the last week.

The company will idle 3,000 workers in Genk, as it cancels plans to build the Focus model there and reduces Mondeo production to two shifts from three. Ford employs 8,300 people at Genk.

Ford had a second-quarter loss of $525 million in Europe as it lost market share to Toyota Motor Corp. and PSA Peugeot Citroen. In the first eight months, Ford's Western Europe sales fell almost twice as much as the market as a whole.

"We are incurring significant losses at Ford of Europe which aren't sustainable," Lewis Booth, president and chief operating officer of Ford Europe, said at a news conference in Brussels. "We need to reduce our cost structure faster than we anticipated."

News of the cost-cutting actions came a day after the United Auto Workers union ratified a national labor contract with Ford that allows the company to close two U.S. assembly plants and three smaller parts factories.

The contract also gives Ford -- along with General Motors Corp. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group -- more flexibility to reduce its hourly work force.

The combined actions signal that Ford, which has 350,000 employees worldwide, is cutting even deeper than it forecast in January 2002 when the automaker outlined a major restructuring after losing $6.4 billion in 2001 and 2002.

Ford and its crosstown rivals are clearly taking advantage of the tough economy and the gains by foreign automakers in the United States to push through plant closures and other cost-cutting actions that would meet stiff opposition in better times.

On Tuesday, Ford executives notified employees of a series of cutbacks needed to achieve the automaker's goal of cutting white-collar personnel costs by 10 percent worldwide before the end of the year. Ford said it will cut 1,700 contract employees in North America who work at Ford but are employed by outside agencies, and lay off 50 U.S. salaried workers. Ford also said it will not fill 1,300 open jobs in North America.

"Our efforts will ultimately protect thousands upon thousands of jobs and strengthen Ford Motor Company's future," Jim Padilla, Ford's executive vice president in charge of North American operations, said Tuesday in an e-mail to employees. "These decisions have been borne out of our need to respond to an increasingly competitive automotive industry."

The 3,000 new jobs cuts in Europe come in addition to 1,700 layoffs at the automaker's German operation that were disclosed Monday. Another 500 job cuts at Ford's business unit in England were made public last week.

Ford said it planned investment at Genk in 2001 when the total Western European car market was 17.8 million vehicles. This year it expects sales of 16.7 million units. Booth said he does not expect the market to recover next year.

Ford builds 1,650 Mondeos and 480 Transits each day, according to Ford Belgium's Web site. Job cuts and severance packages would have to be negotiated with Ford's Belgian unions.

While terms of the Ford-UAW contract have been ratified, talks will continue for up to 90 days between the UAW and Visteon, Ford's largest parts supplier and former subsidiary, as the union and the companies hammer out the specifics of a two-tiered wage system for new Visteon hires.

The timing of Ford's moves affecting salaried workers bookended the labor talks. In July, Ford outlined its plan to cut white-collar personnel costs by 10 percent on the same day company executives shook hands with UAW officials to begin contract negotiations. Tuesday's announcement of salaried job cuts came the same day union workers ratified the new agreement.

The ratification at Ford came a week after workers at Chrysler ratified a deal, leaving GM workers as the only Big Three work force yet to sign off on a contract.

The Ford pact follows the economic terms set in the UAW's contract with Chrysler, giving hourly workers a $3,000 signing bonus, a performance bonus in the second year, a 2 percent raise in the third year and a 3 percent raise in the fourth year. The agreement largely protects top-shelf health benefits for union members.

It also provides pension and health benefits for 77,000 retirees and 24,000 surviving spouses at both Ford and Visteon.

The agreement allows Ford to close factories in Edison, N.J., and Lorain, Ohio, the company's first assembly-plant closures in 19 years. Three smaller parts plants also will be divested.

Analysts are uncertain if the new contract and the personnel cost reduction plan can help Ford successfully overcome steep losses in U.S. market share, which have led to an over-capacity crisis for the company.

"While it's laudable that the UAW and Ford came to an agreement very soon after the contract, there may be more changes needed to the capacity situation going forward," said Michael Robinet, an auto analyst with CSM Worldwide in Northville. "The market will be very competitive in the future."

Under the two-tier wage agreement, expected to be determined within the 90-day extension outlined in a side letter agreement to the contract, current workers would continue to be paid on the current pay scale while new employees would be paid a gradually increasing percentage of the scale.
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Old 10-01-2003, 07:10   #2 (permalink)
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Re: U.S.A.:Ford job cuts grow to 8,200, more Euro cuts...

Ford to cut 3,000 jobs in Belgium

Financial Times
By James Mackintosh, Motor Industry Editor

Ford abandoned plans to invest €900m ($1.1bn) in its Genk factory in Belgium on Wednesday and announced 3,000 job cuts as falling sales and huge losses forced the new head of the European division to intensify a cost-cutting plan.


Lewis Booth, appointed as European chief operating officer at the end of August, said the job losses - which follow plans for 1,700 voluntary early retirements in Germany announced earlier this week - were caused by the weak car market and a price war.

"Since many of our plans were put in place the economic environment has turned down quite substantially in Europe," he told the FT.

"The pace of cost reductions, with the benefit of hindsight, have not been fast enough. We have also got to minimise investment."

Ford has seen its market share fall in western Europe as lower sales led to more competition and a price war. In central and eastern Europe it has gained less than expected, and factories across the continent are running at only 85 per cent of capacity.

Ford's original European turnaround plan relied on plants running at full capacity by now. But Mr Booth said the target 95-100 per cent capacity would be reached in the next two years as new models boosted sales.

"The thing that has gone pear shaped is our expectations of the economy," he said. "We were expecting the economy to be stronger than it is."

Mr Booth said he was now planning for no recovery in the European car market next year or the year after, but believed no further job losses would be needed. A total of 7,000 jobs, almost 13 per cent of the European workforce, will have been eliminated between the start of last year and the end of next year through the direct losses, early retirement and recruitment freezes.

"Within the planning horizon this is the last major announcement we will be making," he said.

Mr Booth repeated his expectation that the European operations - which do not include the luxury brands of Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin - would return to profit in the final quarter of the year. In the first half Ford of Europe lost $774m, up from $286m in the same period last year.

The latest job cuts, which will be discussed with Belgian unions, amount to almost half the Genk workforce. They result from the abandoning of plans to build the Focus mid-sized car in Genk, saving €230m of investment.

Production of the Mondeo executive saloon, which has been losing sales as mass-market brands are squeezed by upmarket rivals, will move from three shifts to two. The commitment to build the next generation Mondeo, the replacement for the Galaxy people carrier and another model in Genk have also been dropped, although Mr Booth said Genk remained the preferred location for the next Mondeo.

The job cuts will come as a bitter blow to Genk, where 1,400 jobs were lost last February when production of the Transit van was moved to Turkey. At the time, Ford promised to invest €900m to turn the factory into a "fully flexible, state of the art car plant" able to build four different models on the same line. The plant will now be significantly less flexible.
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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.

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Old 10-01-2003, 07:19   #3 (permalink)
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Re: U.S.A.:Ford job cuts grow to 8,200, more Euro cuts...

A trimmer and leaner Ford is in the works
Automaker begins cuts to compete with rivals

October 1, 2003
BY JAMIE BUTTERS
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

Ford Motor Co. began eliminating nearly 5,000 positions around the world Tuesday to cut costs and compete with leaner rivals.

The company is cutting more than 3,000 nonunion jobs in North America and offering buyouts to 1,700 German workers.

In an e-mail to employees, Executive Vice President Jim Padilla outlined the moves in North America, which are part of a worldwide effort to cut salary-related expenses by 10 percent:

Shedding 1,700 agency, contract and supplemental employees, who work at Ford but are employed by other companies.

Eliminating 1,300 open full-time salaried positions.

The so-called involuntary separation of almost 50 full-time salaried workers.
Many salaried workers will receive limited overtime, continuing a recent cost-saving effort, and new hires will be restricted to critical positions.

Ford has to cut salary-related expenses to compete with leaner rivals, Padilla said in the e-mail.

"This exercise has forced us to make difficult decisions about our most precious resource -- our people. These decisions have been borne out of our need to respond to an increasingly competitive automotive industry that continues to grapple with the challenges of production overcapacity and spiraling incentive costs," he said.

After losing $6.4 billion in 2001 and 2002 combined, Ford earned $1.3 billion in the first half of this year -- matching its stated goal for the year.

But the Dearborn automaker is expected to post a loss of $270 million in the third quarter, and it faces steep challenges to meeting its goal of $7 billion in pretax profit by 2005 or 2006.

Padilla said the cuts are possible because product development and other activities have been streamlined and by getting out of work that is not central to making cars and trucks.

But he acknowledged that "in many instances, full-time salaried employees will be stepping in to assume work previously handled by contract help."

Ford shares slipped 16 cents, or 1.5 percent, on Tuesday to close at $10.77.
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My next Ford.....
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