Ford To Close More Than Eight North American Plants
Barry Williams  /  Getty Images file
The Ford assembly plant, located just south of Atlanta near the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, makes the Taurus, which is being phased out.
updated 1/23/2006 12:46:00 PM ET 2006-01-23T17:46:00

Ford Motor Co.’s 60-year-old plant in Hapeville, Ga., will be “idled” by 2008 as part of the company’s restructuring plan, the automaker announced Monday, making it the only assembly plant in the South identified by the company for changes.

The Ford assembly plant, located just south of Atlanta near the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, makes the Taurus, which is being phased out. The company says the plant employs 2,028, while the auto workers union says its work force is closer to 1,900.

“It’s a setback for the state,” Hapeville Mayor Alan Hallman said of Ford’s decision to idle the plant, which accounts for 9 percent of the small city’s budget. “We’ve got hundreds of man hours and thousands of dollars invested on various plans to keep them here. The fact that they’ve elected to idle the plant is very disappointing.”

Opened in 1947, the plant is among the oldest of Ford’s 19 North American assembly plants. Other plants to be idled through 2008 include the St. Louis and Michigan’s Wixom assembly plants and Batavia Transmission in Ohio. Windsor Casting in Ontario also will be idled, as was previously announced following contract negotiations with the Canadian Auto Workers. Another two assembly plants to be idled will be determined later this year, the company said.

In all, Ford announced it will idle 14 of its facilities by 2012, cutting 25,000 to 30,000 jobs nationwide. The moves are designed to reverse a $1.6 billion loss last year in its North American operations.

The cuts represent 20 percent to 25 percent of Ford’s North American work force of 122,000 people. Ford has approximately 87,000 hourly workers and 35,000 salaried workers in the region.

State officials in Georgia had worked with Ford for four years to thoroughly study ways to keep the historic Hapeville plant in production, but “market forces beyond the control of government have caused it to succumb,” Gov. Sonny Perdue said Monday in a prepared statement.

Perdue said Ford had considered retooling the plant for assembly of a new model of vehicles. “Unfortunately, global market conditions have forced Ford not to pursue that option,” he said.

As workers left the Hapeville plant around noon Monday they said they were upset but not surprised by the news.

Shipping clerk Wilburn Kelly, a 38-year veteran employee, said he expects to retire. But for his co-workers who haven’t reached retirement age, he said, “It will be rough.”

Police cruisers were posted at the plant gate and across the road at the union office in case of problems, but the scene was quiet at both places.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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