Ford "Way Ahead" Coming Today
The countdown is reaching its final hours for Ford Motor Co. On Monday morning, the beleaguered automaker unveils its long-awaited "Way Forward" plan.
If you read the papers or scanned the Web this past
weekend, you were bombarded by conflicting reports. According to some supposedly
well-placed sources, Ford's Wixom Assembly Plant had dodged the bullet. Others
No matter which source is ultimately correct, the cuts at the third-largest automaker in the world will be deep and painful. As many as ten major parts and assembly plants will be shuttered, up to 35,000 blue and white-collar jobs cut.
To help sell the plan, expect Way Forward architect and President of the Americas Mark Fields to deliver some unexpected bombshells. He's well aware of the cold shoulder Wall Street gave General Motors' own revival plan last November.
Fields also realizes even the best laid plan will fail without worker buy-in. He's studied other turnaround efforts, including GM's vast 1984 reorganization, which resulted in two years of corporate paralysis because management underestimated the need to give the workforce a clear sense of what was going on - and why.
"They need to be scared enough to take action," stresses Dan Gorrell, chief auto analyst with Strategic Vision. Yet at the same time, "You've got to get people hopeful."
To underscore the urgency, expect the cuts to reach the most senior levels of management. As TheCarConnection.com previously reported, marketing chief Steve Lyons is reportedly among a number of officer-level executives who'll be broomed.
Follow the announcements beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET Monday morning, as links to live video and audio webcasts will be available here: http://www.ford.com/about-ford/investor-relations/investment-information
"Way Ahead" Coming Monday (1/22/2006)
The real challenge begins after the cuts are made, analysts say.
The Camaro That Almost Was
A close look at the Studio X design, the Camaro concept that almost was.
Even before GM pulled the plug on the last production Camaro, the automaker has been struggling with ways to bring back the once-popular muscle car. An ill-conceived concept car nearly made it onto the auto show circuit in early 2005, but was abandoned on orders from CEO Rick Wagoner.
Ford was already committed to the retro path, with a Mustang unabashedly repeating the theme of the much-loved 1967 model. So Wagoner ordered his design team to come up with something that picked up the visual cues of past Camaros without being slavishly retro.
GM's Advanced Design studio didn't get back to work on the Camaro concept until spring 2005, but "within about three weeks, maybe four," recalled GM design director Ed Welburn, they already had something striking in mind. Sketches were transferred to clay, and soon, a life-size model was ready for review.
"When I walked out onto the patio and saw it, it was obvious it was a Camaro," Welburn, himself a Camaro collector, told TheCarConnection. But he still wasn't satisfied. "I liked it, but I wanted them to push it farther."
The Camaro That Almost Was (1/22/2006)
How GM's hot concept pony car got that way.
Power: Sales Slump Continues in January
J.D. Power and Associates
says that January auto sales are still in their winter funk. Power reports that,
by its estimates, total vehicle sales are off eleven percent halfway through the month
of January. Leading the charge lower are General Motors and Ford, where Power
estimates that sales are off by 28 and 25 percent, respectively, with
DaimlerChrysler following at a 13-percent sales drop. On the up side, Hyundai
sales have risen 19 percent in January and
Industry Report: Jan. 23, 2006 by TCC Team
NHTSA has new nominee, Chrysler Group says Jan. sales soft.
Chrysler Group announced last week
that Jeff Bell will be moving from Chrysler/Jeep to become the group's new VP of
2006 Jeep Liberty Limited
Diesel by TCC Team
In it for the long haul.
2002 Ford Explorer
Dodge Challenger 33%
Ford Reflex 6%
Buick Enclave 6%
Aston Rapide 6%
Chrysler Imperial 4%
Mazda Kabura 3%
Hyundai Talus 2%
Audi Roadjet 2%
Nissan URGE 2%
Baja California Governor Eugenio
Elorduy joined state and local leaders and
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