The restructuring plan that Ford Motor Co. will announce next month as it moves to restore its North American operations to profitability will be more aggressive than many analysts had expected, the Detroit News reported Wednesday.
Citing people familiar with the plan, the newspaper said the automaker will cut up to 30,000 hourly jobs in North America within five years and close at least 10 assembly and component plants.
Ford Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Ford Jr. has said the plan would include “significant plant closings” but has declined to elaborate. The extent of the restructuring has been the subject of widespread speculation,
Ford’s board is expected to review parts of the restructuring plan during a two-day meeting beginning Wednesday,
Mark Fields, the executive vice president in charge of Ford’s Americas operations — who is drafting the company’s turnaround strategy along with Anne Stevens, chief operating officer of Americas — told employees Friday in an e-mail that the restructuring plan had not yet been finalized.
But in addition to the plant closing and blue-collar layoffs, the Detroit News said the No. 2 U.S. automaker will announce the departure of up to seven top executives in the coming weeks.
Gerald Bantom, the United Auto Workers vice president in charge of the union’s relations with Ford told reporters late Tuesday the automaker’s restructuring plan was expected to be unveiled on Jan. 23.
Like its larger U.S. rival General Motors Corp., Ford has seen its margins squeezed by soaring health-care and raw material costs, and a decline in U.S. market share. So far this year, Ford’s North American unit has lost more than $1.4 billion before taxes.
Ford’s U.S. sales have fallen for all but two of the last 18 months. The company’s sales fell 18 percent in November.
GM said in November that it would cut 30,000 North American manufacturing jobs through 2008 and close 12 facilities to reduce excess capacity.
Last month, Ford said it planned to eliminate 4,000 salaried jobs, or 10 percent of its North American white-collar work force, as part of its turnaround plan dubbed the “Way Forward.”