Ford: Modest Production, More Merit Pay

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Ford will be taking a conservative approach to 2010, according to Chairman Bill Ford, who tells Automotive News [sub] that unemployment makes him most pessimistic about the year to come.

We’re not planning for a huge pickup next year. If we get one, great, we’ll ride it. We’re planning conservatively. Just as we did this year, we’ve kept our inventories low. If things start to pop for the better, we’ll adjust our production upward and go that way

And why not? Ford’s stock price has soared over the last year, since falling under $2 a year ago. This despite the fact that the Blue Oval is mortgaged to the hilt and will miss profitability for 2009. But because Ford believes that, as President of the Americas Mark Fields puts it, “our plan is working,” the bonuses are coming back for Ford’s white-collar employees.

According to the Detroit News, tuition assistance, 401k matching and merit pay increases are all being reinstated for Ford’s white-collar employees. These perks were suspended over the last 18 months, as Ford turned record losses, and the Detroit-based auto industry plunged into turmoil. “We had committed to employees to reinstate them when business conditions allowed, and they have improved to the point that we can restore these benefits,” say Ford spokesfolks. Too bad the results in question amount to two quarters of operating profit in a year that will still end up in the loss column.

Meanwhile, the reinstated bonuses seem to vindicate the UAW rank-and-file rejection of proposed concessions to Ford. Sure, the UAW gave up its decades-long tradition of platform bargaining by refusing Ford parity with GM and Chrysler, but if things are good enough in Dearborn for mass reinstatement of perks, they’re probably good enough to reject no-strike clauses.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Z71_Silvy Z71_Silvy on Dec 15, 2009
    "But because Ford believes that, as President of the Americas Mark Fields puts it, “our plan is working,” Ha! Mark, you have to believe it...true or not. Circuit City said their "plan" was working as well.
  • Cpmanx Cpmanx on Dec 16, 2009

    Ford has finally reversed years of market-share loss. Ford has drastically slowed its cash burn (and actually started to accrue cash in the last quarter), contrary to the dire predictions of some people on this site. Ford is keeping inventories low and not basing its projections on dubious forecasts of a major economic rebound. The revamped Taurus and Fusion are getting good notices and solid sales increases, and the crucial F-150 is keeping its segment leadership. None of this proves that Ford will thrive in the long term, but I would call it credible evidence that the company's plan is working.

  • Aja8888 Folks, this car is big enough to live in. Dual deal: house and car for $7 large.
  • Astigmatism I don't think tax credits will put me in this league, but if I could swing it, I would 1000% go for a restomod EV Grand Wagoneer:
  • FreedMike I like the looks of the Z, but I'd take the Mustang. V8s are a disappearing breed.
  • Picard234 I can just smell the clove cigarettes and the "oregano" from the interior. Absolutely no dice at any price.
  • Dartdude The Europeans don't understand the American market. That is why they are small players here. Chrysler Group is going to die pretty soon under their control. Europeans have a sense of superiority over Americans that is why the Mercedes merger didn't work out and almost killed Chrysler. Bringing European managers aren't going to help. Just like F1 they want our money. We need Elon Musk to buy out Chrysler, Dodge and Ram from Stellantis.