US:Ford may scrap new plant plans
Ford may scrap new plant plans
Facility -- part of North American restructuring -- on hold indefinitely
Bryce G. Hoffman / The Detroit News
DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. is delaying plans to build a new, low-cost assembly plant in North America and may abandon the plan entirely, Ford Americas President Mark Fields said Tuesday.
Plans to build the facility were first outlined as part of Ford's restructuring plan in January. Fields said then the location for the new factory would be announced by the end of the year.
He said Tuesday no announcement will be made for the foreseeable future.
"We're still looking at it," Fields said after a pre-Detroit auto show event with reporters.
"We're still working through the business cases, still looking at the product plan and looking at how we're going to leverage more of our global resources. There's lots of moving parts."
He added that it is not "an absolute given" that Ford will build the plant.
Ford sources previously told The News that the company hoped to build the plant in the southern United States and use it as a bargaining chip with the United Auto Workers.
The idea was to give the UAW a beachhead in what has become the North American base for Ford's non-union foreign rivals; in exchange the UAW would give the company a competitive operating agreement so the new plant could produce vehicles as cost-efficiently as those competitors.
Now, sources say the plan has been tabled because of cost concerns.
Ford has already put its U.S. plants up as collateral to secure up to $23.5 billion in new financing to provide the funds it needs to pay for its North American turnaround.
One analyst said the union is likely the reason Ford is now putting its low-cost factory plan on hold.
"I think they want to wait until they've nailed down the new bargaining agreement next fall," said Jim Hall, of AutoPacific Inc. in Troy. Detroit automakers will negotiate new UAW contracts in 2007.
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.....