What will get Ford in gear?

Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: Car maker Ford turns in its fourth-quarter profit report this morning. We're hearing Ford might also announce some buyouts. That would mean as many as 11,000 union job cuts. But even if Ford breaks even this time and trims down its work force even more, where does it go from here? Ashley Milne-Tyte has more.


Ashley Milne-Tyte: Ford's turnaround is still laboring along in first gear, and it might be some time before it picks up speed.

George Magliano directs North American automotive research for Global Insight:

George Magliano: It's not going to be easy in 2008 for Ford, or anybody in the automobile business, 'cause we're pretty much in a recession and the sales numbers this year are gonna be pretty abysmal.

New Ford workers will earn around half of what current union workers bring in.

Magliano says the company's cost-cutting measures are just what's needed to bring it in line with more successful rivals like Toyota. But, he says, now Ford's progress is largely dependent on one thing:

Magliano: It relies on the new product development. And we've seen some good stuff, but not enough.

Still, Magliano says, CEO Alan Mulally's cuts are creating a more streamlined Ford. And a nimbler company will be better able to develop new models relatively quickly.

I'm Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.

About the author

Ashley Milne-Tyte is the host of a podcast about women in the workplace called The Broad Experience.

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