Video: Ford to add 1,200 jobs in Chicago

  1. Closed captioning of: Ford to add 1,200 jobs in Chicago

    >>> white house this morning. we're joined now from washington by the president and ceo of ford motor company , alan mulally , who is here first on " morning joe " to make a big announcement that could be a sign of things to come in the auto industry . mr. mulally, it's good to have you on the show. now, i had heard that your announcement had something to do with chicago which is why we scrambled into action to get in place here for your big announcement. tell us what it is.

    >> well, it's pretty exciting, mika. again, good morning to you and good morning to joe. and today we're going to announce that we're going to be assembling our new explorer in chicago starting in the fourth quarter of this year. and on the strength of the product and also the recovery, we are also going to be increasing employment also. so it's a tremendous development for ford and for chicago .

    >> my understanding is you'll be creating 1,200 jobs at the chicago plant. why did you choose chicago ?

    >> well, it's got a great team, the highest quality productivity, a fabulous operation, and that plant also -- the car will be on the same platform that we make the taurus on, too. so we get the economy to scale in addition to our quality and productivity.

    >> alan , it's willie geist here in new york city . the people in chicagoland, i'm sure, are thrilled to hear that announcement. you, unlike gm and chrysler, a few years back, you sort of anticipated bad things to come in the american economy , raised a bunch of capital. now you're investing, i understand, $400 million in this operation. what do you see in the economy that led you to do this?

    >> well, you know, clearly, as you pointed out, we continued to invest in our new products the customers really want and valued during the worst of times. so we are positioned with a great product line to support the customers as we come out of this recession. we're seeing a gradual recovery in the new car sales that mirror the recovery in the economy. and we're being, you know, cautious on our projections for this year. but we clearly see an increase in sales and also 14 out of the last 15 months ford has actually increased market share based on the strength of our new products. it's very gratifying. we think we've got the right products at the right time for the consumers as the recovery progresses.

    >> so mr. mulally, let me ask you a little bit about the philosophy behind this. a lot of companies are being cautious right now. they're waiting to see what's going to happen. and they're worried about moving forward and expanding. what is it that makes you think that people will want to buy cars, will want to make big investments, will want to spend a lot of money given the climate that we're dealing with that doesn't seem to be going anywhere fast?

    >> no, i understand, mika. it kind of goes back to our fundamental point of view about the future. and we decided three years ago that at ford, we were going to have a complete lineup, a complete family, of cars, utilities and trucks, small, medium and large. and we also took the point of view that every one of our vehicles, they were going to be best in class, best in class with the best in the world in terms of quality, fuel efficiency , safety, smart design and the best value . so even though we are going through a recession, we have this long-term view. we continue to invest. and now we have a set of products that our customers really do want and value. and i think that with everything we're seeing on the fiscal and monetary stimulus, that we're starting to see a recovery in the united states and also a recovery around the world. so the timing is just perfect because we took that long-term view to continue to invest.

    >> alan , it's norah o'donnell here in new york.

    >> hi.

    >> let me ask you about some of the new products you have. i'm reading you have a ford transit connect . i haven't seen it yet, but i know it's a car that you've described as a chick magnet ? now, that's a chick magnet ?

    >> well, somebody else pointed out that i've been married to my wonderful wife, nikki, for 40 years. so maybe i don't understand what a chick magnet is anymore.

    >> what kind of car is that?

    >> well, it's a small commercial van. and it is so neat. and it's good-looking. it's got a great design. tremendous space inside. utility, flexibility. i think it's not only going to be great for small businesses and package delivery , but also the younger people are looking at it because it's so versatile, and they can do all the things they want to do. i still think it's really good-looking. the blue paint job and racing stripes , and it looks great.

    >> alan , willie said he's going to get rid of his bmw and get the transit connect .

    >> i hear chicks love small commercial vans. you're right on. you're dead on here.

    >> willie, it's really a good point, though. because, you know, the world really does want small, efficient vehicles, too, to complement our bigger ones. the chick magnet is one of the fiesta, focus, fusion. you can get if from ford.

    >> all of them.

    >> let's put this one point away, mr. mulmulally. that is not a chick magnet , but it's cute. let's move on, though. i want to ask you a broader question. overall looking at the economy and the way this white house is approaching it. in terms of trying to build an auto company into the future, what are some of the things that you'd like to see the white house doing moving forward that they're not doing? what are some of the things that are concerning you as we look at the way forward and look ahead to the president's state of the union address on wednesday night?

    >> well, i think that some really key issues are being addressed. and one of them, of course, is the economy because, you know, a growing economy is, of course, just so important for all of us. another important thing that we're addressing together is productivity and competitiveness of the manufacturing sector because that is so important to national security , to energy independence , energy security and sustainability. i think another partnership that we have with the u.s. government is on moving forward on fuel-efficient vehicles. and in ford's case, we participated in the security act, also the department of energy initiatives. so we're going to keep improving the internal combustion engine and move to an all-electric future.

    >> sir?

    >> yeah.

    >> what about keeping companies going and this health care reform bill that the president is behind in pushing, they want to make the equation that it will create jobs, that it will reduce the deficit, and it will create a situation in which industry can thrive. do you believe that is the case? or do you think -- are you worried a little bit there's been too much of a focus on that and less of a focus on making industry thrive? something your company has been able to do, but it's unusual.

    >> no, i understand. and i think that your point is absolutely correct. the most important thing we do on everything going forward is to ensure that the companies can profitably grow, and if they are competitive. of course, on health care as well as everything else, we all want to make sure we're always improving the quality but also improving the productivity.

    >> take it to new york. norah o'donnell and willie geist , jump in.

    >> drive one.

    >> alan , let me ask you broadly, i know you've laid out that your company is doing well. your sales are up. but what's the broader picture for the american automobile industry ? because we heard a few weeks ago that china in 2009 for the first time exporting more than the united states . where are we right now? is the automobile industry , at least for some american companies , lost?

    >> well, i think the automobile industry in the united states has a tremendous opportunity for us going forward. and in ford's case, you know, our point of view is that about one-third of the total market worldwide will be in north america , in the americas, about one-third in europe and one-third asia-pacific. we're positioned in all areas to support our customers. but in the united states , the neat thing about ford is, because we work our cost structure and because we invested in new products, we can now make cars, small, medium and large cars, utilities and trucks in the united states and make them profitable. so we want to be here for the u.s. customers.

    >> all right. ford's ceo alan mulally , thanks so much. great work for the people in chicago there. again, looking to create 1,200 new jobs with a plant there.

    >> thank you.

    >> and repealing for the first time the small commercial van as chick magnet . we have to call you out on that one. thanks so much for your time this morning. appreciate it. there it is.

    >> you were doing so well, mr. mulally. you were doing so well.

    >> norah 's getting steamy just looking at it.

updated 1/26/2010 10:17:37 AM ET 2010-01-26T15:17:37

Ford Motor Co. will add 1,200 jobs at its Chicago assembly plant later this year to build the new Explorer sport utility vehicle, a person briefed on the matter said Monday.

The company and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn are scheduled to make the announcement on Tuesday at the factory, but Quinn told reporters in Chicago Monday that 1,200 new jobs were coming to Illinois.

"Tomorrow, in one day, we're going to get 1,200 new jobs for Illinois," Quinn said at a breakfast event that is unrelated to the Ford announcement.

The person briefed on the announcement said some of the workers will be from Ford's pool of employees laid off at other factories. The person did not want to be identified because the announcement has not been made.

The new Explorer will be built on the same frame as the Taurus sedan, which is built at the Chicago plant.

Ford has long had plans to base the once-popular Explorer on a car rather than truck frame. The company says the new one will have SUV-like towing and hauling capacity, but will be more maneuverable and fuel efficient than its predecessor.

Ford has sold more than 6.5 million Explorers since the SUV went on sale in 1990 as a 1991 model. But the segment has been suffering due to high gasoline prices. Ford sold only 52,190 of the truck-based Explorers last year, down 34 percent from 2008.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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