Ford Charts The "Way Forward"
Bill Ford 2006
Despite deep cuts affecting virtually all Ford "stakeholders," Monday's announcement left a number of questions unanswered, including the fate of several Ford assembly plants, as well as specific plans to support the turnaround with much-needed new product. Ford officials promise to fill in some of those gaps in the weeks to come, with company sources providing some of the details for TheCarConnection.com.
"We all have to change and we all have to sacrifice,"
said Ford Chairman and CEO William Clay Ford Jr., as he outlined the situation
facing the company founded by his great-grandfather, Henry Ford I, 102 years
ago. But he left the details of the so-called "Way Forward" plan to Mark Fields,
the young President of the
His words were driven home by the first of three Monday morning briefings for reporters and industry analysts. Chief Financial Officer Don Leclair painted a picture of a company improving its fortunes in much of the world - even as its home market is in freefall.
Ford Charts The "Way Forward" by TCC Team (1/23/2006)
Deep cuts - but are they enough this time?
More to Come from Ford
It took a team of 60 Ford insiders, working virtually without break for 100 days, to pull together the Way Forward turnaround plan. Yet several sources familiar with the project tell TheCarConnection.com that the project is far from complete.
Of seven assembly plants expected
to close, only three were specifically named on Monday. Two others will follow
shortly, TheCarConnection has learned, including the Ranger plant in
Work on the various speeches given on Monday continued almost to the moment before senior Ford managers, led by CEO Bill Ford, took to the stage. That reflected, in part, an ongoing debate over just how much information to reveal to the world. In the end, a number of key details were omitted, in part for the sake of time, in part to maintain certain proprietary decisions.
But "a lot will be coming out over the coming weeks and months," confided one high-level source, immediately after the announcement was completed. Others confirmed that comment.
More to Come from Ford by TCC Team (1/23/2006)
Automaker will be making lots more news in the coming months.
Ford Earns $2B In 2005
Ford Motor Co. did better than expected financially during the fourth quarter, eking out a small profit even though its core automotive business was under siege and its credit rating under extreme pressure.
William Clay Ford Jr., chairman and chief executive
officer, said Ford Motor was profitable for the third consecutive year in 2005
and its automotive business was profitable everywhere but in the
John Murphy, the auto analyst at Merrill Lynch, said in a note to clients that Ford's fourth quarter was better than expected. "Surprisingly, the main driver of the upside of the quarter was Ford's automotive operations," he said. In addition, the company's liquidity position looks relatively secure since the company is now sitting on $25.1 billion in cash, Murphy said.
Ford Earns $2B In 2005 (1/23/2006)
Ford Credit drives third profitable year in a row.
Special Report: Ford's Way Forward (1/23/2006)
NASCAR Camry 2007
The announcement was made by Dave
Illingworth, senior vice president and chief planning and administrative officer
for Toyota Motor Sales,
"Next year - 2007 - will be a
special year for
"We look forward to February of 2007 when the green flag waves to start the Daytona 500 and the starting lineup features the Toyota Camry."
The company, as the first
Japanese-owned firm to compete in what has traditionally been an all-American
series (if you overlook the fact that Dodge is now part of the German-owned
DaimlerChrysler empire), is sensitive about wanting to be welcomed into the
"NASCAR family" and not alienating any fans. Illingworth took pains in his
announcement to point out the many manufacturing plants located in
Illingworth was welcomed by NASCAR CEO Brian France, who joined him in unveiling a Nextel Cup Camry. Illingworth said that, unlike the Craftsman Truck Series, no Nextel Cup or Busch Series Toyotas will have Toyota sponsorship, and that the manufacturer support will be on par with what other manufacturers currently provide in the Nextel Cup and Busch series, with no vehicles being engineered and/or built by Toyota Racing Development, as was the case with their entry into the Craftsman Truck Series.
New S60, Facelifted XC90 Due in July
The facelifted Volvo XC90 SUV and S60 sedan could get their world debut at the revamped British International Motor Show in July.
The bi-annual event
has moved from
"The shift to the capital deserves
the support of as many manufacturers as possible to give credibility to the
'international' element of the name. We are talking to
ASC Has Deal for InfiniVu
Just a fortnight after it unveiled its new patent-pending convertible roof concept, component firm ASC Global has signed a deal which will see it go into production.
Called InfiniVu, it
features sliding panels that stretch from front to back on the vehicle's top. At
the NAIAS debut, bosses at the
Spokesman Tim Yost said, "We already have at least one OEM
customer for one of our InfiniVu systems, on a car to be launched in about a year. We can't say which OEM and which product line at this stage." However, he did give a clue by saying that the company was "presently focused on foreign-based OEMs selling into the North American market." -Richard Yarrow
DAILY IN DEPTH
Sales of Exotics for 2005
couple of weeks ago TCC had a round-up story on 2005 U.S. auto sales, which at
the end had a brief paragraph itemizing eleven-month sales of the handful of
"exotic" cars in the market, sourced from an Automotive News summary.
Among those listed was Lotus, with sales reported as a mere 96. Almost
immediately, several Lotus fans protested, including one in
First, Lotus sales in 2005 came to about 2300. Second, the numbers reported in Automotive News for some of the exotics are estimates, as noted in a tiny footnote I had missed. "We don't report our sales to Automotive News," Mr. Price wrote.
"Because of our small size monthly fluctuations in production and transportation can create large variations in sales," he explained. "If we receive 20 fewer cars in a given month it can appear that our sales have fallen by ten percent and the next month they may appear to have increased by 20 percent. As an example if we sold 180 cars a month for three months we'd have 540 sales at the end of the quarter. However, if we had 180 one month, 160 the next and 200 the third month, we'd still have 540 cars at the end of the quarter. But it would appear that our sales were down 12 percent in the second month and up 25 percent in the third month. Perhaps more importantly, we have made a conscious effort to avoid focusing on sales volumes. Our small size and flexible manufacturing allow us to adapt to the marketplace."
So, final full-year 2005 sales for the following limited-production exotics were reported by the manufacturers or importers to TCC or Automotive News and are NOT earmarked as estimates: Dodge Viper 1652; Maybach 152; Ford GT 1302; Cadillac XLR 3730; Acura NSX 206; Maserati 2006; Infiniti Q45 1129; Porsche Carrera GT 340, Bentley 3654 and VW Phaeton 820.
TCC hopes the above will please the lovers of Lotus and some other exotics we heard from. At least one of the exotics not listed declined to provide sales numbers when asked. -Mike Davis
UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and Vice President Gerald Bantom, who directs the UAW National Ford Department, issued this statement on the restructuring plan announced today by Ford Motor Co.
"The restructuring plan announced this morning by Ford is extremely disappointing and devastating news for the many thousands of hard-working men and women who have devoted their working lives to Ford. The impacted hourly and salaried workers find themselves facing uncertain futures because of senior management's failure to halt Ford's sliding market share.
"The announcement has further left a cloud hanging over the entire workforce because of pending future announcements of additional facilities to be closed at some point in the future. Unfortunately, analyst and media speculation during the last month has made these events even more wrenching for Ford workers, their families and communities.
"The announced plant closings and future announcements are the subject of ongoing discussions with Ford. Certainly, today's announcement will only make the 2007 negotiations all the more difficult and all the more important.
"Like the 2002 plan, Ford's new 'Way Forward' is based on cutting jobs and closing facilities to 'align' Ford's production capacity with shrinking demand for Ford's vehicles. Then, as now, the focus should instead be on striving to gain market share in this competitive market by offering consumers innovative and appealing products.
"The UAW-represented workers affected by today's action are covered by the job security program and all other provisions and protections of the UAW-Ford National Agreement. Our union will rigorously enforce those programs."
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