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US:Ford to furlough Ranger plant workers for three weeks

Ford to furlough Ranger plant workers for three weeks

Associated Press

ST. PAUL -- The 1,600 workers at the Ford Motor Co. plant here will be furloughed for three weeks this fall as Ford cuts production of the Ranger pickup truck.

Supervisors at the St. Paul plant distributed letters to employees Thursday confirming layoffs for one week starting Oct. 4, and for two weeks starting Nov. 15, said Rob McKenzie, president of United Auto Workers Local 879.

The three-week shutdown affects about 1,600 workers, he said. It wasnít immediately clear whether managers and supervisors would be included.

Ford had released a dismal monthly sales report earlier this week showing a drop across all Ford brands except Volvo. The Ranger suffered the steepest drop of the Ford brands in August, with sales falling about 47 percent from 23,438 trucks to 12,510. Across all of its vehicle lines, Ford announced that it would cut fourth production to 830,000, down from 900,000 during the same period last year.

That Ranger sales are weak is hardly a surprise. The small pickup market peaked in the U.S. in 1986 and has been falling ever since as customers migrate to full-size trucks, said George Pipas, Fordís top sales analyst.

Pipas declined to comment on the furloughs reported by the union. He said the company reports operating plans one week in advance, but not more.

Sales of all makes of compact trucks in the U.S. are running about 10 percent below last year, he said. Sales of Fordís popular big F-Series truck, by contrast, rose 15 percent in August, from 73,698 trucks last year to 84,996.

Ford has already shut its other Ranger plant in New Jersey and consolidated production in St. Paul. Ford also shifted production of the Mazda B-Series compact truck to the plant this summer, investing $28 million in retooling the facility.

Ford shares fell 15 cents to close at $14.21 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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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