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Ford Plowing $1.6 Billion into Mexico Plant

Automaker joins parade of other companies investing in country.

by on Apr.05, 2016

Ford's Joe Hinrichs said the automaker is aligning its production so it can maximize profits on every vehicle.

At the height of presidential election drama, Ford Motor Co. may have given one of the leading contenders a new soapbox to stand on as it confirmed plans to build a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker expects to begin construction on the new plant this summer with production starting in 2018. The site will produce small cars for the automaker and will create 2,800 new jobs by 2020.

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“We’re improving the profitability of our small cars,” Ford President of the Americas Joe Hinrichs told the Detroit News. It has been widely reported that the maker expects to build its Ford Focus and C-Max models in the country. (more…)

Despite Fears of Rejection, Workers at Ford, GM Ratify Contracts

Approval frees union leaders to shift focus to new organizing efforts.

by on Nov.21, 2015

GM and UAW officials shown on July 13, 2015 marking the opening of contract talk.

Workers at both Ford Motor Co. and General Motors voted to accept each of their new four-year contract offers, in the process ending what had turned into an unexpectedly contentious round of negotiations – workers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles soundly rejecting their own first contract offer.

A variety of offers pitted not only the United Auto Workers Union against Detroit’s Big Three but also saw the UAW having to fend off more militant members of the union. Starting with President Dennis Williams on down, Autoworkers leaders mobilized to sell a revised Chrysler contract. But they continued to run into trouble even with more lucrative offers from GM and Ford.

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At the smaller of the two, 51.3% of production workers and 52.4% of Ford’s skilled tradesmen voted for the contract. Among other things, that vote will earn 53,000 Ford workers ratification bonuses of $8,500.

“Through a fair and democratic process UAW-Ford members have delivered job security and strong economic gains for their families and communities,” said Jimmy Settles, vice president of the UAW’s Ford department.


Ford Seals UAW Deal with Future Product Guarantees

Will Ford workers be the first group to accept new deal on first try?

by on Nov.09, 2015

The Lincoln Continental will be built alongside the Ford Mustang and Fusion at the Flat Rock, Michigan, plant, the UAW said.

An all-new Ford Explorer is now scheduled to come down the assembly line at the company’s Chicago Assembly plant and the long-promised full-size Ford Raptor will be built at the Dearborn Truck Assembly plant under the terms of the automaker’s new contract with the United Auto Workers.

The UAW also said Ford promised to build a new mid-sized Lincoln Continental alongside the Ford Mustang and Ford Fusion at the automaker’s Flat Rock assembly plant as part of the newly agreed upon pact.

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Overall, the new U.S. investments worth $9 billion are expected to create or secure 8,500 jobs for UAW members under a new tentative agreement with Ford that was overwhelmingly approved by the local union leaders on the UAW National Ford Council Monday.  (more…)

Ford, UAW Reach Tentative Contract

Settlement expected to begin phase-out of 2-tier job system.

by on Nov.06, 2015

Ford wasn't expected to resume negotiations with the UAW until next week.

In a surprise announcement, the United Auto Workers Union has revealed it reached a tentative agreement with Ford Motor Co. on a new four-year contract.

The two sides had publicly put talks on the back burner – but quietly continued meeting – while union bargainers first focused on negotiations with Fiat Chrysler and then General Motors. With GM workers now likely to have approached their tentative settlement, it was expected the union would shift focus to Ford next week.

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“We appreciate the solidarity from our members while we worked to secure the details of this proposed tentative agreement,” UAW President Dennis Williams said Friday afternoon. “We negotiated for a proposal that will solidify job security and create substantial economic gains for our hard-working members and their families.”


Ford Recalling Ranger Pickup for Duty in US

Ford expected to respond to growing demand for midsize pickups.

by on Aug.26, 2015

Ford would need to make major changes to the global Ranger for the U.S. market.

Ford may be ready to do an about face and return to the American midsize passenger car market. After repeatedly insisting that buyers were more interested in full-sized trucks like the company’s big F-150, Ford is reportedly preparing a U.S. version of the midsize Ranger model it launched overseas two years ago.

The move appears to be triggered by the unexpectedly strong response to the all-new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon models General Motors launched last year. Ford abandoned the segment in 2011 when it stopped production of the older version of its Ranger. It has frequently said the new model was not intended for the North American market, but a revised version is apparently under development.

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The move not only could fill a big hole in Ford’s otherwise strong and profitable line-up but also solve a political problem for the carmaker as it races to reach a settlement with the United Auto Workers. The two sides have until September 14th to reach a new four-year contract, and a potential sticking point was Ford’s earlier announcement it would end production in Michigan of two compact models. The same plant now appears likely to handle the new Ranger.


GM, Ford, FCA Kick Off Negotiations with UAW

Union looking to get its piece of the automotive recovery.

by on Jul.13, 2015

Past UAW President Bob King shakes hands with Ford Chairman Bill Ford as negotiations began in 2011 on the now expiring contract.

The overall economic impact of the negotiations between the domestic carmakers and the United Auto Workers on wages across the U.S. has waned over the years, but the inherent drama of the talks lives on as the two sides get down to bargaining this year and the stakes are as high as ever.

The negotiations, which open today with an official handshake between General Motors executives and top UAW officers, promise to particularly eventful – and unpredictable – because of the climate change that surrounds the 2015 negotiations.

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After all these are the first negotiations since the 1990s that follow a streak of five very profitable years, noted Kristin Dziczek, an analyst with Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor. (more…)

Ford Moving Two Key Models from Michigan to Mexico?

Maker confirms move but insists it has not decided on final location.

by on Jul.09, 2015

The 2016 Ford Focus.

(This story has been updated reflecting comments by Ford.)

In a surprise announcement, Ford said it will move two key models from a suburban Detroit assembly plant to another factory when they’re redesigned in 2018. There has been widespread news reportage indicating the Ford Focus and C-Max models will be shifted to Mexico, but the maker has said a final production site has not yet been determined.

The news come shortly after Ford announced it would drop a third shift at the Michigan Assembly Plant due to weak sales of the products built there, including the Ford Focus and the C-Max.

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The announcement also precedes by barely two weeks the start-up of quadrennial contract talks between the second-largest Detroit automaker and the United Auto Workers Union. That has at least one well-placed labor source wondering whether the decision, more than three years ahead of the actual move, might be a bargaining ploy.


Ford Posts $1.65 Bil Earnings for 3Q

Carmaker’s 10th consecutive quarter in the black.

by on Oct.26, 2011

Ford overcame some headwinds, according to CEO Alan Mulally, with its 3Q profit.

Barely a week after getting union approval for a new 4-year contract that should ultimately reduce its labor costs, Ford Motor Co. announced a $1.65 billion net profit, or 41 cents a share, for the third quarter of 2011.  It marks the Detroit carmaker’s tenth consecutive quarter in the black.

But the latest numbers marked a slight decline from year-ago earnings, which totaled $1.69 billion.  And the results for the July – September period were down even more sharply from the second quarter of this year, when Ford reported a $2.4 billion net profit.

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But Ford had previously signaled it might have a weaker quarter, reflecting not only the cost of launching new products but also the impact of rising commodity prices.

“We delivered solid results for the third quarter despite an uncertain business environment,” contended CEO Alan Mulally, in a prepared release.


Debt Rating on the Rise, Will Ford Restore Dividend?

Maker gets vote of confidence with Fitch credit upgrade.

by on Oct.21, 2011

After an initial bump look for Ford's labor costs to come down, says President Mark Fields.

Editor’s Note: This story has been revised to reflect a subsequent upgrade in Ford’s credit rating by S&P, the agency removing Ford from its CreditWatch.

With a key debt rating agency giving it the thumbs-up – and further hikes anticipated – Ford Motor Co. is signaling it may soon restore its dividend, a move that could, in turn, help revive the maker’s flagging stock price.

With Ford now indicating its new contract with the United Auto Workers Union will actually lower its labor costs, Fitch Ratings bumped the carmaker’s credit rating up a notch to “BB+” on Thursday, S&P taking the same step on Friday while also removing Ford from its CreditWatch.  Those upgrades fall just one step short of reaching the investment grade targeted by Ford CEO Alan Mulally.

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In the past, it had been expected that Ford would wait until getting that investment grade status before restoring the dividend but, during a meeting with investors, Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth indicated the additional upgrade, “is not an absolute necessity to pay dividends.”

If anything, analysts say such a move would pay big dividends for Ford.  The quarterly payout is a requirement in some investment communities, such as insurance companies and government pension plans, according to Joe Phillippi, chief analyst with AutoTrends Consulting.


Winners, Losers and American Car Buyers

by on Oct.20, 2011

Who won when GM and the UAW hammered out a new contract? Do consumers really care?

The trouble with our winners-losers society is that it often misses the point of the game.

Consider the recently concluded talks between the United Auto Workers union and Detroit’s car companies.

Critics of those agreements contend that the manufacturers got four years of labor peace for little or nothing. They are missing the point, which is this:

It's Free!

The American consumer, the third and most important party at the bargaining table, does not give a damn.

As long as that remains the case, the UAW should be happy to have any contract at all.

Here’s why: