Hoping to build its reputation with environmentally-minded motorists, Ford Motor Co. put a spotlight on battery power during this year’s Detroit Auto Show, unveiling models like the plug-in C-Max Energi microvan. But later this week, Ford CEO Alan Mulally will focus on a different sort of green.
If all holds according to the expectations of Wall Street analysts, the maker is expected to announce that its profits for 2010 came to a total of $8 billion, the biggest number the maker has seen in a decade. That figure is all the more significant since it came during one of the worst years the industry has experienced since the Great Depression, rather than at a time when U.S. car sales were running at or near record levels.
But there could be a downside to the big profit. Ford, like its Detroit Three brethren, is getting ready to return to the bargaining table with the United Autoworkers Union. The last time they hammered out a contract, in 2007, the union agreed to make major changes, and more followed during the downturn, including the creation of an employee-owned health program and the addition of a two-tier wage structure.