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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Saint Paul/Ford to keep St. Paul plant open until 2011 despite losses

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8 Comments:

Blogger Bob said...

The local assembly plant will continue to produce the Ranger pickup truck.

By Associated Press and staff reports

Last update: July 24, 2008 - 8:35 AM

DEARBORN, Mich. -- Ford Motor Co. said today that it will retool two manufacturing plants and keep the Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul open until 2011.

The St. Paul plant produces the Ranger small pickup truck. It was scheduled to close next year.

Sales of the Ford Ranger started to grow again early this year after several years of declining sales, stimulating hopes that it could be saved, at least for a while. About 1,060 jobs in St. Paul are at stake. But June sales plunged 33.8 percent from a year ago to 4,882 units, renewing doubts about the plant's chances.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said this morning that keeping the plant open is "welcome news for the workers and their families" as well as the community.

He said Ford has been an integral part of the community for more than 80 years and has provided good jobs in St. Paul. .

The city now will look at "future opportunities to extend the life of the plant," he said.

Sen. Norm Coleman also praised the decision. He met with company officials earlier this year to argue that the plant should remain open.

Ford said today it lost $15.3 billion in 2006 and 2007 combined and is expected to post a substantial loss in the second quarter of this year.

The move to more fuel-efficient vehicles would signal a seismic shift for its U.S. production -- scheduled years in advance -- away from trucks and sport-utility vehicles and toward passenger cars.

Ford also said it will retool the Michigan Truck plant in suburban Detroit, shifting its products from large SUVs to make global vehicles off the European Focus platform by 2010.

The SUVs made at Michigan Truck — the Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition — will be shifted to the Kentucky Truck plant in Louisville.

The company also will retool the Louisville Assembly Plant, which now builds the Ford Explorer midsize SUV, to produce vehicles on the European Focus frame, starting in 2011.

The company also announced that it will bring six European small car models to North America by the end of 2012 as it deals with a market shift from trucks to cars brought on by high gasoline prices. The company also will retool two more U.S. truck and sport utility vehicle plants to build small, fuel-efficient vehicles.

Ford said it lost $8.67 billion in the second quarter largely because of a reduction in the value of assets.

The second-quarter loss was $3.88 per share, compared with net profit of $750 million, or 31 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

The loss includes $8 billion worth of write-offs because of a decline in value of North American assets and Ford Motor Credit Co.'s lease portfolio.

Ford's second-quarter revenue was $38.6 billion, down $5.6 billion from the year-ago period.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous what the hell said...

8 billion in write offs ?

Whos picking up the tab for 8 billion in write offs !

Somebody explain this !!

1:33 PM  
Anonymous danno the spelling nazi said...

the shareholders of FoMoCo are eating the $8b in write-offs.

I maintain that the city of St. Paul would be better off if the plant closed and the area was redeveloped. FoMoCo pays very little (in comparison) property taxes, and redevelopment would increase the tax base...

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do people out there use that word Nazi, you all know most people in government are Jewish.
All you commies shut your mouths, I hate that word.

7:27 PM  
Anonymous danno the nazi jewish commie said...

I prefer Webster's second definition, the one "often not capitalized": "one who is likened to a German Nazi: a harshly domineering, dictatorial, or intolerant person"

I'm just trying to keep up with the spirit around here, that's all... :D

8:31 PM  
Blogger Swiftee said...

Amazing what can be accomplished by replacing a few hundred $30.00/hour fender assemblers with $15.00/hour fender assemblers.

The plant stays open, entry-level jobs are provided and overpaid, low skill workers are encouraged to get some training so they can return to a high paying job and actually provide $30.00/hour worth of value to their employers, and best of all, all of those lowlife union reps can go back to selling used cars.

It's a win-win all the way around.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If ford will close. the city of st.paul will lose billions of dollars.

IT WILL BE GHOST TOWN

9:21 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Ford's reprieve changes little for St. Paul planners
City will continue to plan for closing of assembly plant
By Dave Orrick
dorrick@pioneerpress.com
Article Last Updated: 07/25/2008 12:18:35 AM CDT


It still might go away.

And that could happen before 2011, so we'd better keep planning.

That's the thinking of St. Paul officials, who on Thursday welcomed the news that Ford will keep its Twin Cities Assembly Plant open through 2011, instead of closing it next year, but said it would be prudent to keep planning for the company's exodus.

Of course, a lot of that planning already has been done, as a 21-member task force has whittled down a bounty of ideas to five. But it's uncertain how much sense those plans would make in 2011, since drafting them initially began when Ford was expected to leave this year.

"We need to take a step back," said Cecile Bedor, St. Paul's director of planning and economic development. "It's great news but there are a lot of questions right now. On our agenda will be: What's Ford's timing?"

The company had prepared — but never released — a public solicitation for a master developer. The status of that proposal remained unclear Thursday.

Bedor said the city's overall plan remains the same: Prepare for everything. That ranges from the possibility that Ford's plans will change again and the Highland Park plant will close before 2011 to the prospect that the automaker will decide to retool the plant to produce vehicles for the long haul.

The latter is the city's preference and the best-case scenario, officials said. They would especially hope that such a reinvestment would include redevelopment — to homes, retail or other industry — of a portion of the 136-acre site.

"With this extension in place, we will continue our partnership with Ford and the state to look at future opportunities to extend the life of the plant," Mayor Chris Coleman said. "We know that the highly skilled and creative work force in our city and at the plant can easily retrain and retool to meet market demands."

The company's new strategy is to revamp some North American plants to produce versions of its smaller, more fuel-efficient European vehicles, but no such plans have been announced for the St. Paul plant, which will continue to produce the Ranger compact pickup.

For the neighborhood that surrounds the plant, Wednesday's news means a transformation that likely would have taken at least five years will now take at least seven. While some neighbors were eager to see the heavy industry leave the nearly entirely residential neighborhood, a few years shouldn't be a big deal, said Bill Klein, president of the Highland District Council and co-chair of the Ford Site Planning Task Force.

"It's not like there was an expectation that something would be there next week," Klein said, adding that the economic benefits of the plant remaining far outweigh any other factors. "The neighborhood has developed around the plant, so it's accustomed to operating around the plant. Now, if we start seeing a major increase on the third shift and a significant increase in traffic, that might be another issue."

The all-volunteer task force met more than 15 times over the past year to come up with guidelines for how the site should be redeveloped. The five scenarios on the table range from an industrial park to a high-density "urban village" built around mass transit. No one was sure which ideas would work, largely because testing for pollution on the site can't be done while the plant is operating.

"We have some guidelines and scenarios, but they can all change," said Carole Faricy, the task force's other co-chair.

Klein said the planning exercise — which at first was hurried when Ford announced it would leave this year before settling on a 2009 closing — wasn't in vain.

"It opened people's eyes to what we have here. Something's going to happen at some point in the future, and so what we've done will be helpful."

Dave Orrick can be reached at 651-292-1159.

9:42 AM  

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