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Thread: Ford offers buyouts to 75,000 employees

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    The Land of The Edentulites

    Ford offers buyouts to 75,000 employees

    DETROIT (Sept. 15) - Ford Motor Co. plans to expand buyout and early retirement offers to the company's entire U.S. hourly work force of 75,000 as part of a broader restructuring plan aimed at restoring the troubled No. 2 automaker to profitability.

    One day before Ford was to detail the huge restructuring plan, the move was announced Thursday afternoon by the United Auto Workers union. Ford hasn't said how many workers it hopes will take the offers, but it has previously announced plans to cut up to 30,000 hourly jobs by 2012.

    Under the buyout and early retirement plan, detailed in a UAW statement, workers can choose among eight packages that offer from $35,000 to $140,000 depending on their years of service, age and how close they are to retirement age. Some packages require workers to give up health benefits.

    The announcement came just after Ford's board of directors, including new Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally, wrapped up a two-day meeting to approve the restructuring plan designed to cut costs in light of slumping sales.

    But the UAW statement only fueled anxiety in Ford plants and offices across North America as workers braced for the announcement of further cuts scheduled for Friday morning.

    Catherine Madden, an auto industry analyst at the consulting company Global Insight Inc., said although not all 75,000 workers will take the packages, the size of the offer illustrates the magnitude of Ford's troubles.

    "No matter what, the number reflects the pressure the Ford Motor Co. is under right now," she said. "That's how significant the mounting pressures are on Ford."

    The offers also show a realization of Ford's troubles by the UAW, which said in a statement that it agreed to the packages due to the "extraordinary circumstances in the domestic auto industry."

    Ford had about 82,000 workers represented by the UAW at the end of last year, but about 6,500 have taken previous buyout and early retirement offers made mainly at plants already slated for closure, company spokeswoman Marcey Evans said Thursday.
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    UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said its members have made hard choices under difficult circumstances.

    "Now, it's Ford Motor Co.'s responsibility to lead this company in a positive direction - which means using the skills, experience and dedication to quality that UAW members demonstrate every day in order to deliver quality vehicles to customers," Gettelfinger said in a statement.

    Ford has been battered by the auto market's shift from trucks and sport utility vehicles to more fuel-efficient cars and crossovers. Its market share and sales have dropped while its Japanese competitors have gained.

    The buyouts being offered are similar to those made earlier this year to hourly workers at the General Motors Corp., where 35,000 people have agreed to leave the company. Ford is the second-largest carmaker in the U.S. after GM.

    The announcement also came as UAW local leaders at Ford plants gathered in Detroit to discuss Ford's financial situation and the buyouts.

    "I think it's a good package," said Chris Kimmons, president of UAW Local 919 at the Norfolk, Va., assembly plant. "I think they worked real hard on it. They've got to do something to help Ford out of this crisis."

    The Ford board meeting wrapped up Thursday afternoon and the company issued a statement saying it would announce details of the restructuring in a news release at 7 a.m. Friday, followed at 9 a.m. by presentations to employees and the media.

    Mulally, who was hired away from Boeing Co. just last week, attended the board meeting and will be part of Friday's announcements, the company said.
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    Ford lost $1.4 billion during the first half of this year and is under pressure from Wall Street to make further cuts and roll out new cars and trucks more quickly.

    In July, the company pledged to accelerate its "Way Forward" restructuring plan, which when introduced in January and called for the up to 30,000 job cuts as well as closing 14 facilities by 2012.

    Madden said her company expects Ford to announce the closing of two more plants. Ones that make truck-based sport utility vehicles and cars built on older platforms are likely to be closed, she said.

    The scope of the buyout offer could indicate that more than two plants could be closed, Madden said.

    Ford shares fell 10 cents to close at $9.09 on the New York Stock Exchange. Its shares have traded in a 52-week range of $6.06 to $10.09.

    Separately, Ford said that Anne Stevens, an architect of the restructuring effort at Ford and one of the auto industry's highest ranking women, is retiring. Stevens, 57, had been at the center of Ford's turnaround efforts since October 2005, when she was named executive vice president.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Houston, TX

    Re: Ford offers buyouts to 75,000 employees

    Fords way forward is little more than standard head cutting for a company that is devoid of ideas, run by bean counters, and that produces crappy products with crappy service.

    I have owned several Fords beginning with a 1966 Mustang. In addition, I have driven/owned the following of their products: 1981 Escort, 1986 Taurus, 1996 Mustang GT and 1997 Mustang Cobra. What they all had in common were lousy brakes and lousy steering (except for the Escort, which had a lousy engine). The Taurus' steering felt like a garden tractor and Fred Flinstone's feet could have stopped that car faster. The GT and the Cobra used substandard materials in their rotors which felt like you were stopping on gravel everytime you approached a stop sign. The GT and the Cobra steered like a truck as well, with the dead center feeling like the steering gear was filled with novacaine. The GT's was in the shop for steering problems so many times that I lost count. The Cobra was starting to have the same problems before I got rid of it as well.

    After the Cobra, it is unlikely that I will ever buy a Ford product again. But its not just Fords crummy products.

    Ford products are overpriced. Their dealer network is neanderthal. For a car enthusiast like me, going to a Ford dealer is about as much fun as a doctors office visit. You are greeted by a bunch of throwbacks trying to mug you to buy their cars. You have the equivalent of an Elmer Fudd running the parts departments and King of the Hill guy writing up the service orders. Well, its not that bad, but Fords dealer network needs serious work. They also need real cars to sell.

    Its not only that, however. Calling Fords customer care hotline is akin to phoning your congressman and waiting for him/her to do something good for the country for a change. I had to call them on my Mustangs and got very little back. Fords warranty policy stinks in that they will charge you for rotors to be replaced after only 15,000 miles (these are a wear item per Ford). Brake rotors shouldn't warp or wear in that time. You should be able to turn them if they do, but NO... Ford wants you to replace them and charge you for it (unless you jabowne them). Because Ford makes many of its parts in China and Mexico with the cheapest possible materials, Fords warranty bills must be huge. No mention of that in Way Forward (ha!).

    Judging by their products and the trouble the company is having these days, I have no reason to believe that they have improved things a whole lot in the last 10 years. Fords treatment of its customers in the past gives me little confidence that anything has changed. I bet it has left a sour taste in the mouths of millions. Unfortuanely for Ford,judging from what I hear about their "way forward" , I doubt they are focusing on warranty or quality, Fords main problems. I doubt that you can get much quality improvement if your way forward means kicking loyal, dedicated and skilled employees out the door. On the otherhand, if I could get contorl of that company, I would throw that Bill Ford Mr Nunally, and Ford's legion of beancounters, bumpkins, and throwbacks out the door and replace them with people who actaully know about cars and customer service. I'd be as generous as I could, as it isn't totally their fault...

    Bill Ford needs to go back to sniffing flowers and doing nature hikes like he claims to like. Nunally needs to go back to building model airplanes, and Ford needs to start building cars for the first time in 100 years.

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    The Land of The Edentulites

    Re: Ford offers buyouts to 75,000 employees

    Hi Swamp,

    Your points are all solid (and could be directed at GM just as credibly). Both GM and Ford are muchbetter today than they were as recently as five yars ago - but the legacy of poor/mediocre product and indifferent/contemptuous/agressive "hard sell" service, etc. have permanently soured so many ex-buyers it will be a miracle if they can recover their positions.

    Then there's the matter of "free trade" - which both companies pushed (in order to increase profits by firing workers,cutting benefits and lowering mfgr costs by erecting plants in Mexico, etc. Now it's come backto bite them in the ass as the descending spiral of trying to "compete" with peonage societies such as Mexico and China is not sustanianble in the long run.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Houston, TX

    Re: Ford offers buyouts to 75,000 employees


    I haven't found GM to be as odious as Ford, although I bet they are. The only GM vehicle I ever have owned is my current 2001 Saturn L100. The thing that bothers me about GM is theier tendency to force technology down peoples throats. DRLs, event data recorders, On-Star, and event recorders are things that I don't want in a car. On my Saturn, the DRLs are disabled because GM is lazy. Many of thier DRL circuits are similar and easy to disable. As far as on-star goes, the little silver box is not in my car and if I ever bought another GM car, it would be in the garbage.

    You are right in that GM has offended just as many, if not more people than Ford has.

    Free trade has been the most offensive practice of all the carmakers. As a rsult of its long term consequences, all car companies are going to see thier volumes drop as fewer and fewer people can afford their vehicles. In my profession, salaries are dropping as a result of foreign competition and free trade.With the higher cost of housing (due to Alan Greenspan) and higher inflation, I am unable to purchase a car. As a result of higher gas prices, I have moved closer into work and actually use my bike as a car. Even with that, a cooler car isn't on the horizon for at least another couple of years.

    Perhaps I shouldn't have bought those Mustangs way back then.

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