Ford Considers White Collar Layoffs

Ford Motor president and CEO Alan Mulally addresses a news conference at Ford Motor Company headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., Sept. 5, 2006. Ford is hoping the former Boeing CEO can apply his experience at the aircraft giant to revamp the automaker's product strategy and restore profitability. AP

What would Henry Ford say? The company he built on the strength of assembly lines and the affordable Model T is reportedly considering a plan to slash white collar staffing and benefits, as well as a new pricing strategy.

Blue collar cuts meanwhile are continuing, including offers of early retirement, with company representatives meeting Tuesday to discuss the details with union leaders – who were ordered not to reveal the details to reporters.

The idea is to slim down Ford's costs to match its smaller market share – and along the way, restore profitability.

Ford, the nation's No. 2 automaker, lost $1.4 billion in the first half of this year and announced in January that it would cut up to 30,000 jobs and close 14 facilities by 2012. But company officials say now they are working on a plan to speed up the restructuring.

Many industry analysts expect additional cuts to be made when Ford's Board of Directors meets Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the next round of restructuring, known as the "Way Forward" plan.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Ford's board of directors is expected to review a plan to cut white-collar staffing, benefits and other costs by 30 percent as part of an expanded restructuring.

The cuts to the company's salaried workers are expected to be deeper than the 4,000 white collar jobs eliminated earlier this year.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that details of the cost-cutting efforts could be disclosed as soon as Friday. It says Ford's board is also expected to hear details about a new pricing strategy to keep prices closer to the suggested retail price.

The Detroit Free Press reports another switch. It says Ford has decided not to sell its credit financing arm, as had been previously reported.

Cuts continue to march forward on the blue collar side.

Leaders from United Auto Workers union locals across the country gathered Tuesday to talk about Ford Motor Co.'s financial situation and discuss the company's plans to expand buyout and early retirement offers to all U.S. hourly production workers.

  • James Klatell

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