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Old 10-02-2003, 07:07   #1 (permalink)
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U.S.A.:Ford to shut 2 plants this year, 1 in 2004's first quarter

By Bill Koenig / Bloomberg News

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co., responding to falling sales, will close factories in Michigan and Cleveland this year and a New Jersey assembly plant in 2004's first quarter.

The world's second-largest automaker also will phase out a plant in Lorain, Ohio, over four years and shift the work to a nearby Ohio assembly plant in Avon Lake, the automaker said in a presentation on its Web site. The closings were agreed to in a four-year accord last month with the United Auto Workers union.

The closure of the Edison, New Jersey, site will be the company's first assembly-plant shutdown in 19 years, underscoring Ford's need to cut costs as its U.S. business shrinks amid market- share losses to Asian automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co.

"This contract is fair and balanced and consistent with achieving our revitalization actions," Roman Krygier, who is in charge of manufacturing for Ford in the U.S., said on a conference call with analysts and reporters.

Cleveland, Dearborn

The company's aluminum casting plant in Cleveland will close by the end of 2003, the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker said. The Vulcan forge site in Dearborn was idled in March and will close by the end of the year, Ford said.

The company also will reduce the number of shifts at its St. Louis assembly plant to one shift, Krygier said. Ford had announced in January 2002 that it would close the St. Louis plant. The company instead decided to close Lorain during labor talks.

The presentation was put on the Web site ahead of a 9 a.m. conference call with analysts and reporters.

Ford said yesterday that September sales rose 0.8 percent, the first monthly gain since February. Ford, and U.S.-based rivals General Motors Corp. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler unit have offered incentives to stay competitive with Asian automakers, whose vehicles have a better reputation for quality.
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Old 10-02-2003, 08:03   #2 (permalink)
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Re: U.S.A.:Ford to shut 2 plants this year, 1 in 2004's first quarter

Ford sets timetable for U.S. plant closings

Reuters / October 02, 2003

DETROIT (Reuters) -- Ford Motor Co. will close three U.S. plants over the next six months and a fourth U.S. plant by 2007 under its contract with the UAW, company officials said Thursday.

Ford had announced in 2002 three plant closings, and the union had told its members last week about the fourth plant, but Ford had not set a timetable for the closings.

Ford said the UAW contract it signed Tuesday allows it to meet the goals of its turnaround plan to cut North American capacity by 1 million vehicles, likely shedding about 12,000 hourly jobs.

"Our new four-year agreement is a good one," said Dennis Cirbes, Ford's vice president for employee relations and Ford's main contract bargainer with the UAW.

Ford had previously announced it was closing two parts plants, in Michigan and in Ohio, and an assembly plant in New Jersey. Under the contract, the UAW saved an assembly plant in Missouri but had to allow another assembly plant in Ohio to close instead.

The two parts plants will close by year end, while the New Jersey plant will close by March 2004. Ford said it will close the Ohio assembly plant by 2007.

The company said some of the contract's costs -- such as a $3,000 signing bonus for UAW members -- would be accounted for as a one-time charge to third-quarter earnings. Ford is expected to post a loss of 13 cents a share in the third quarter, according to analysts surveyed by Reuters Research, a unit of Reuters Group PLC.

In the past few days, Ford has announced some 7,700 job cuts around the world, including 3,000 hourly workers in Belgium, 3,000 salaried and vacant jobs in North America and 1,700 jobs in Germany.

The cuts are part of a drive at Ford to meet its profit forecasts despite higher-than-expected costs from Detroit's price wars.

Mostly because of incentives now averaging roughly $3,700 a vehicle sold in the United States, Ford already has been raises its cost-cutting target for this year to $2.5 billion just to hit its earnings estimate of 70 cents a share, or roughly $1.3 billion.

Through June, Ford had cut $1.9 billion, through reducing the cost of building current models and lowering its estimates for future warranty repairs. In July, it said it would cut salaried worker costs 10 percent by year end, through every method possible, including job cuts.
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My next Ford.....
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