DEARBORN, Mich. -
Ford president and chief executive Alan Mulally said the automaker will also trim salaried staff, mostly through attrition but possibly through layoffs, as it tries to adjust to a slumping US market. Ford said its US market share will be at the low end of a 14 to 15 percent range in 2008, down from 14.8 percent in 2007 and 26 percent a decade ago. Ford fell behind
"We are going to match our production capacity to the real fundamental demand," Mulally said during a conference call with Wall Street analysts and media.
Ford lost $2.8 billion, or $1.30 per share, in the fourth quarter, narrower than a loss of $5.6 billion, or $2.98 per share, in 2006. The full-year loss of $2.7 billion, or $1.35 per share, was significantly better than 2006, when Ford lost $12.6 billion, or $6.72 per share.
Mulally said Ford remains on track to make a profit in 2009, but is expecting another loss in 2008.
Mulally said the United Auto Workers agreed to two rounds of buyouts for hourly workers. The first will be offered immediately to fewer than 1,000 remaining workers who had been employed at already closed plants in Atlanta, St. Louis, Edison, N.J., and Norfolk, Va. Those offers close the week of Feb. 28 and employees would leave the company by March 1.
The second round of buyouts would go to workers at all other US Ford locations, opening Feb. 18 and closing the week of March 17. Mulally said those workers would likely leave the company starting April 1, with all of them gone by year-end.
The buyouts come in addition to a 2006 round in which 33,600 US hourly workers left. This time around, they could be replaced with lower-wage workers. Under Ford's new contract with the UAW, which was signed in November, Ford can pay new workers $14.20 per hour, or about half the wages of a current worker. Under the contract, up to 20 percent of Ford's US hourly work force may be paid at the lower wages.