Ford Expected To Close Plants - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/23/06-Detroit, MI

Ford Expected To Close Plants

The Ford Motor Company is expected to announce a business plan today that might close several assembly plants. This restructuring program, named the "way forward," could also result in the loss of thousands of jobs.

The Saint Paul plant in Minnesota is among those most at risk for closing. Some of the factors that could determine its future involve the age of the plant, the products it makes, and lack of flexibility . Other US cities that could see plant closures include Saint Louis, MO...Atlanta, GA...and Wixom, MI. Assembly plants in Saint Thomas, Ontario and Cuatitlan, Mexico could also be shut down.

Ford has been hurt by a drop in the sale of sport utility vehicles. Those plants could be targeted because of their age, the products they make, their lack of flexibility or other factors.

Ford has about 87,000 hourly workers and 35,000 salaried workers in North America. The restructuring is Ford's second in four years. Under the previous plan, Ford closed five plants and cut 35,000 jobs, but its North American operations failed to turn around.

Ford used just 79 percent of its North American plant capacity in 2005, down from 86 percent in 2004, according to preliminary numbers released last week by Harbour Consulting Inc., a firm that measures plant productivity.

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