Ford's "Capacity Action" Cuts Shifts at Three Plants
We've all heard of "downsizing," "rightsizing," "smartsizing" and "managed redundancy." Whatever you call it, someone's losing their job. Ford has come up with another term to add to our lexicon of executive euphemisms: "capacity action." In a press release earlier this week, Ford outlined its plans for "capacity actions for Chicago and Louisville assembly plants and Cleveland engine plants." The Chicago (Taurus, Taurus X and Sable) and Louisville Explorer, Explorer Sport Trac and Mountaineer) assembly plants will operate on one shift beginning this summer. Cleveland Engine Plant #2 will cut to one shift in April. And the re-opening of Cleveland Engine Plant #1 (shut down in May 2007) has been postponed from this spring to the fourth quarter. Joe Hinrichs, group VP for global manufacturing says the "capacity actions are designed to ensure that our manufacturing facilities are operating in the most efficient way." Ford continues to offer 10 different retirement and buyout packages to facilitate these cuts. I mean, "capacity actions."
bluecon: "It was a major blunder when they came out with the new 500. They should have redesigned the Crown Vic instead they are competing with themselves in the fullsize market. Typical of Billy jrs leadership. St. Thomas is on one shift because the product is very old and is not selling. So they have 2 full size car plants each operating on one shift." The major "blunder" with the 500 is this: it wasn't marketed and promoted as it should have been plus the car was SERIOUSLY underpowered and thus not competitive. I don't remember seeing one tv commercial or magazine ad for the car. The 500 name is rich in the history of FoMoCo (Fairlane 500, Galaxy 500) and they just seriously goofed this up. 500 goes much further back in FoMoCo history than Taurus. Ford is in the dumper and going down FAST !!!! I seriouly doubt that FoMoCo will be profitable by 2009. And my money is on them never being profitable as long as the current management team is in place and the Ford family is calling the shots (so to speak) !!!! P71_CroenVic: "They should shut down Chicago all together. The Taurus/Taurus X/and Sable don’t sell at all (February was the second month that the Sable did not sell more than 1,000 units)." This is further proof that the Mercury division needs to be put out to pasture and put out of it's miserable existance. Ford, Mercury is on life support so PLEASE end the suffering now !!!!! Is it any wonder Ford is in the mess it is in ????
The 500 didn't sell because it was a funny looking full size car and they already had a full size car in the lineup for the old fogies. Of course the other problem the Big 2.8 has is their customer base is leaving them as old age takes it's toll.
Mercury can't be killed. If you kill Mercury, Lincoln dies in the cross fire, because the vast majority of Lincoln-Mercury dealers would close due to lack of sales (their sales would drop by more than half). In any case, it doesn't cost Ford anything to slap more chrome on a Ford, charge a grand more for it, and call it a Mercury.
Look, we can all speculate about why Five Hundred / Sable sales sputtered, but I suspect most of the opinions we've heard have come from people who aren't in the target demographic. Ford obviously thought the design would appeal to a certain type of customer; Ford apparently thought wrong. What I'd like to see is informed feedback from surveys, focus groups, dealerships/salespeople and others in tune with prospective customers. Ford must have this data; if not, Mullaly has an even bigger challenge. It will be interesting to see how the Flex sells. Success would be ironic, because the Flex is essentially a Five Hundred station wagon with classier appointments.