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Ford putting 1,000 more workers at F-150 plant…

November 1, 2008

So the world is going into a predicted recession. Well, that’s what the bean-counters are saying anyways. Then we have Al Gore harping on about Global Warming / Climate Change. Sounds like we are doomed eh? But if you don’t believe in these (ie: you’re spending more & more each day while still driving ur big 4WD through the city for a loaf of bread) then Ford is thinking just like you. In an announcement yesterday, to keep up with predicted demand for the new 2009 F-150, Ford has given 1,000 workers, which it laid off at the start of the year due to being short on sales & money, their jobs back.

Here is the official report by MSN Money:

Ford Motor Co. is predicting pickup truck sales will bounce back
enough for it to add 1,000 workers to its Dearborn F-150 factory in
January.

The company celebrated the manufacturing launch of a new
version of the truck Thursday and announced that it will restore a
third shift to the plant.

Ford spokeswoman Angie Kozleski said
the additional workers will come from those laid off earlier this year
at many Ford plants when the company cut production. The move will
bring employment at the Dearborn plant to around 3,300, she said.

Mark Fields, Ford’s president of the Americas, said the shift was added because there is demand for pickups.

The
company has done well selling down the 2008 models in preparation for
the new one, he said, and it’s anticipating increased sales.

“When
we project forward looking at our sales rate this month, and what we
project our sales rate to be over the next couple of months, it
warrants the shift coming back here in Dearborn,” Fields said.

As
the U.S. auto market has dwindled through the summer due to high
gasoline prices and economic concerns, trucks have started to come back
as a percentage of the retail market, rising from 8 or 9 percent in
June to 13 or 14 percent in the past two months, Fields said. That’s
partly due to a huge drop in gasoline prices, he said, from peak of
around $4 per gallon nationwide to $2.547 a gallon nationwide on
Thursday.

“People are buying trucks in a market, in an economy
that’s very poor,” Fields said. “And us being a leader there coming out
with a new truck, we feel we’re well positioned.”

Through
September, large pickup truck sales are down nearly 25 percent compared
with the same month last year, according to Autodata Corp. It’s a
larger drop than the overall U.S. market, which is down 13 percent for
the period. F-series truck sales are down 27 percent for the first nine
months of the year.

In addition, Ford faces increased competition
from a completely redesigned Dodge Ram truck, with both companies
claiming their truck is better.

F-series trucks hit showrooms in
early October, but the company celebrated the manufacturing launch on
Thursday by gathering workers for a ceremony with executives.

Fields
also said Thursday that October auto sales are looking like the last
couple of months. Sales dropped below a million in September, the worst
month for the industry in 15 years. The industry reports October sales
on Monday.

He also said that if the federal government gives aid
to General Motors Corp., Ford would seek “a degree of parity.” GM is
talking with Chrysler LLC owner Cerberus Capital Management LP about
acquiring Chrysler, and the federal government reportedly may throw in
some cash to make the deal happen.

Despite the down economy, Ford
won’t change its product development plans, Fields said. The company
says almost half its model lineup will be new in 2009.

Ford says
it hasn’t cut its marketing budget for the new truck despite the
economic downturn and questions about whether it has enough cash to
survive. Industry analysts say the company is burning through $1
billion or more per month. Ford said that as of June 30, it had about
$38 billion in cash and credit lines available. The company will
announce its earnings and third-quarter cash-burn figures on Nov. 7.

Ford
will market the truck exclusively to work buyers and says the market is
all but gone for people who buy trucks but never haul or tow anything.

“The people that now are in the truck business, they need a truck,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s group vice president of marketing.

Television
ads for the truck, which debut this Sunday on a football pregame show,
tout its features for people who use them on the job.

Ford’s
shares rose 12 cents, or 5.6 percent, to $2.28 in regular-session
trading Thursday but dipped 8 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $2.20 after
hours.

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