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US:Layoffs at Ford include engineers

Layoffs at Ford include engineers

Company pink-slips manufacturing workers, others in push to reduce work force by 5 percent.

By Bryce G. Hoffman / The Detroit News

Sales and marketing employees were not the only ones to lose their jobs at Ford Motor Co. last week. A number of engineers and white-collar manufacturing workers also were laid off as part of the automaker's effort to reduce its salaried head count by 5 percent.

"Thursday was not just marketing, sales and service," said Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans. "There were others."

While Evans would not say how many salaried workers lost their jobs, she did say it was "significantly less" than the 400 involuntary layoffs the company had anticipated would be necessary to meet its payroll reduction goals. She said no further white-collar layoffs are expected this year, though she said some employees who were not in the office Thursday could still get pink slips when they return.

Ford has been struggling to rein in costs as its market share continues to slip and its financial troubles mount.

The company's share of the North American vehicle market has dropped from more than 26 percent in 1995 to less than 18 percent today.

The automaker posted a $1.2 billion pre-tax loss in the second quarter.

Earlier this year, Ford eliminated 1,100 salaried positions through a combination of buyouts and early retirement packages.

It also cut 10 percent of its contract employees. The company said it wanted to cut another 5 percent of its 35,000-strong North American salaried work force by Oct. 1.

Since then, a number of workers have left voluntarily. That has meant fewer pink slips were necessary than the company had originally planned. Laid-off workers will receive severance packages.

The effort to shrink salaried payroll is part of a broader, corporatewide restructuring effort.

"We're really looking for new efficiencies," Evans said.

The company also has eliminated 2005 bonuses for salaried management employees worldwide and has suspended its 401(k) matching grant for white-collar workers.

Last month, Ford also sold its Hertz rental car division to a group of investment companies for $5.6 billion.

Ford Chairman and CEO Bill Ford Jr. has insisted the cuts won't affect the automaker's development of next-generation technology.

None of the engineers who lost their jobs last week were involved in cutting-edge projects like advanced powertrain or hybrid systems. Rather, they focused on engineers involved in convention technologies.

Last month, Ford announced a major push to bring more hybrid vehicles to market, while accelerating development of vehicles that use alternative fuels like ethanol and hydrogen.

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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