TRAVERSE CITY, MI – IfMotor Co. continues to post strong earnings during the remainder of 2010, a return to profit-sharing for United Auto Workers union members may be in the works.
made $2.6 billion in the second quarter, and through July its light-vehicle sales were up 22.9%.
“As long as we continue making profits, everybody will benefit,” Mark Fields, Ford executive vice president and president-Americas, tells reporters when asked if the UAW profit-sharing plan will be revived.
Fields was here to address the CAR Management Briefing Seminars. In his speech he says Ford is on track to bring about 1,975 jobs – many from outside the U.S. – back to Ford workers between 2008 and 2012, or 25% more than it committed to in its 2007 UAW contract.
So far, 1,340 jobs formerly held by suppliers have been shifted to 24 Ford U.S. facilities, and another 635 will revert to nine Ford plants within the next few years, he says. Among them: Battery manufacturing technology from Mexico to Rawsonville, MI, and front-drive transaxle manufacturing from Japan to Sterling Heights, MI.
Ford also will shift some work to its Sharonville, OH, transmission plant; Chicago stamping operation; Wayne, MI, assembly plant and a second Sterling Heights components facility.
Fields makes a strong case for a U.S. manufacturing renaissance, calling for greater collaboration between auto makers, unions, suppliers, government, public institutions, academia, energy suppliers and new technology and software manufacturers.
“No economy anywhere in the world since the industrial revolution has been strong without a strong manufacturing base,” he says.
Asked during a question-and-answer session whether Ford is open to innovations from outside the company, Fields says, “We don’t care where innovation comes from; we’re open for business when it comes to new ideas.”
Underscoring the world vehicle population will double to 2 billion over the next 20 years while demand for fuel will rise 45%, Fields says U.S. auto makers can help the nation retain a strong manufacturing base by meeting “the three critical issues shaping the globe: the economy, energy and the environment.
“No company or industry can do all of this alone,” he adds, because what’s needed are “true systems solutions requiring true collaboration and partnerships like we have never known.”
Ford’s product-development and research-and-development efforts are aimed at boosting fuel economy and lowering carbon-dioxide emissions, Fields says, quipping that “consumers aren’t always worried about saving the planet, but they always want to save at the pump.”
Attacking the mileage challenge, Ford will spread its EcoBoost engine technology to 90% of its nameplates by 2013, he says. EcoBoost features direct injection and turbocharging to boost fuel economy 20% while reducing emissions 15%, Fields says.
“We expect to produce approximately 1.5 million EcoBoost engines globally (by 2013), which is roughly 200,000 more than we originally expected,” he says.
Ford has more fuel-saving 6-speed transmissions in service than any other auto maker “with more on the way,” Fields says.
Meantime, Ford will add five electric and/or hybrid models by 2012, starting with a battery powered Transit Connect this year, followed by the Focus Electric in 2011 and two next-generation hybrids plus a plug-in electric vehicle in 2012.
“Ford is investing $1 billion to build those vehicles and the battery packs that power them,” Fields says. “Many of those jobs will be located right here in Michigan, including some jobs that are being relocated from Mexico.”