Saturday, 21 June, 2008 0:03 AM
Cuts Truck Production as Demand Slows; More Cars, Crossovers, Fuel-Saving
BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com
debut of the 2009 Ford F-150 was pushed back two months and will
now be released in late fall.
Mich. – Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) today said it
is making further reductions to its North American truck production
plan while adding more small cars, crossovers and fuel-efficient
powertrains, as the company responds to the continued deterioration
in the U.S. business environment and the accelerated shift away
from large trucks and SUVs.
gasoline prices average more than $4 a gallon and consumers worry
about the weak U.S. economy, we see June industry-wide auto sales
slowing further and demand for large trucks and SUVs at one of the
lowest levels in decades," said Ford President and CEO Alan
Mulally. "Ford has taken decisive action to respond to this
accelerating shift in customer demand away from large trucks and
SUVs to smaller cars and crossovers, and we will continue to act
swiftly moving forward."
expects U.S. industry volume in 2008 - including medium and heavy
vehicles - to be between 14.7 million and 15.2 million units, compared
with the previous assumption of 15 million to 15.4 million units.
Accordingly, in the third quarter, Ford now plans to produce 475,000
vehicles, a reduction of 50,000 units from previously announced
plans and a decline of 25 percent compared with the 2007 third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Ford plans to produce 550,000 to 590,000
units, a reduction of 40,000 units from previously announced plans
and a decline of 8 to 14 percent compared with the 2007 fourth quarter.
Ford is adjusting the public introduction timing of the new 2009
Ford F-150 by approximately two months due to the industry-wide
slowdown in the U.S. truck market and the need to sell down dealer
inventory of the current model. The new F-150 now will go on sale
in late fall.
new 2009 F-150 raises the bar yet again on capability, quality and
durability, and we know core truck customers are eagerly awaiting
its arrival," said Mark Fields, Ford's President of The Americas.
"Our plan all along has been to introduce the new F-150 after
our dealers had a chance to sell down inventory of the existing
model, and - with the current slowdown in the marketplace - we decided
it was prudent to adjust the start of public sale for the new truck
by about two months."
actions, Ford said it now is clear that 2008 pre-tax Automotive
results will be worse than 2007, cash outflows to fund operating
losses and restructuring will be greater than previous guidance
and, unless the economy improves, it will be difficult for Ford
to break even companywide on a pre-tax basis in 2009, excluding
special items. Ford North America still expects to reduce annual
operating costs by about $5 billion by the end of 2008 - at constant
volume, mix and exchange, and excluding special items - compared
Credit Company now will incur a pre-tax loss this year - excluding
any potential payment related to Ford's profit maintenance agreement
- primarily due to further weakness in large truck and SUV auction
values. Ford Credit no longer is planning a distribution payment
to Ford in 2008.
view the move to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles as permanent,
and we are responding to customer demand," Mulally said. "In
the near term, we are adjusting production to the actual demand
- increasing small cars and crossovers and reducing large trucks
and SUVs. For the long term, we are moving fast to introduce more
small cars, crossovers and fuel-efficient powertrains - including
more hybrids - and we will adjust our manufacturing facilities to
match our updated product lineup."
it is uniquely positioned to build on its strength today as a crossover
vehicle leader, while leveraging its small car expertise in Europe
and bringing more of those vehicles to North America.
to hatchback and sedan versions of the European-engineered Ford
Fiesta small car that goes on sale in North America in early 2010,
Ford is announcing today that four- and five-door versions of the
next-generation European Ford Focus small car will be produced in
North America beginning in late 2010.
Focus will be common with Europe, South America and Asia Pacific
and represent the next generation of today's successful European
Focus. Excellent fuel economy will be achieved through new highly
efficient direct- injection engine technology and a new advanced
Focus and Fiesta - as well as other small cars and crossovers from
Europe - will be part of an unprecedented period of new Ford product
introductions that has only just begun in North America. The new
Ford Flex crossover and Lincoln MKS sedan went on sale this month,
and the new F-150 goes on sale in late fall. New versions of the
Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ mid-size cars debut late
this year, as do all-new hybrid versions of the Fusion and Milan.
By the end
of this year, 70 percent of all Ford, Lincoln and Mercury products
by volume in North America will be new or significantly upgraded
compared with the 2006 models. By the end of 2010, 100 percent of
the product lineup will be new, including in 2009 the next-generation
Mustang, new fuel- saving EcoBoost engines and new European Transit
remain absolutely committed to accelerating the development of the
new products that customers want and value," Mulally said.
"We sell some of the best smaller cars and utility vehicles
in the world in our profitable European and South American operations,
and our plan is to introduce these same vehicles in North America
as quickly as possible. This is an integral part of our plan to
leverage our global assets and achieve our goal of profitable growth."
Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn,
Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles in 200 markets across
six continents. With about 244,000 employees and about 90 plants
worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include
Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial
services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information
regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.
Source: Ford Motor