US:Bill Ford: Bankruptcy reorganization not an option
Bill Ford: Bankruptcy reorganization not an option
Amy Wilson | Automotive News
DETROIT -- With the auto industry in turmoil, Ford Motor Co. is considering a number of what-ifs, CEO Bill Ford says. But bankruptcy restructuring is not one of them.
"We don't see it at all," Bill Ford said of a possible Chapter 11 filing. Ford Motor has ample liquidity, he said, stressing that the company was profitable in 2005.
He acknowledged that the U.S. auto industry is in a "precarious" state.
Bill Ford spoke to reporters on Wednesday before a luncheon ceremony honoring him as 2006 Automotive Industry Executive of the Year, an award sponsored by the Automotive Industry Action Group and DNV Certification.
Ford Motor's biggest problem is the bleeding North American auto business, which lost $1.6 billion before taxes and charges in 2005. Turning around that unit, the objective of the company's Jan. 23 Way Forward restructuring announcement, requires tough decisions and nimble thinking, he said.
"We are game-planning like crazy with our board and certainly with our management team in terms of multiple what-ifs," Bill Ford said. "It's a very uncertain world now."
In the next 18 months to two years, pivotal issues for Ford to monitor or address include the health of other auto manufacturers, the health of Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, commodity prices, oil prices and the 2007 UAW contract negotiations, he said.
Ford leaders are meeting daily to evaluate how their assumptions are changing and how to counteract those changes, Bill Ford said. One of his missions is to ensure Ford Motor has the liquidity to navigate turbulent times. Keeping Ford Motor Credit Co., one of the company's strengths, is important, he said.
He acknowledged the restructuring is tough on Ford Motor employees.
The Way Forward plan calls for closing 14 plants, including seven assembly plants, through 2012. As many as 30,000 hourly and salaried factory jobs will be cut. Ford Motor also cut the equivalent of 4,000 white-collar jobs in North America during the first quarter of 2006.
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My next Ford.....