Ford Close to Retooling Announcement
By Brendan Moore
When we ran a piece on June 13th about Ford retooling their existing plants in the U.S. in order to produce their small European models based on the chatter we were hearing from our sources at Ford, other sites linked to our article. But, the headers to those links on those sites generally contained wording along the lines of “wild rumors”. Fair enough. There was nothing else to go on except what had been whispered to us, and it’s not like we’re Automotive News or The Wall Street Journal, you know.
So yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Ford is going to spend the money to retool some plants in the U.S. in order to produce their European models here. From the WSJ:
“Ford Motor Co. is preparing plans to retool some U.S. plants to produce small passenger cars that the company has been making and selling mainly in Europe, people familiar with the matter said.
The move, parts of which could be announced Thursday as part of Ford’s second-quarter earnings report, is aimed at helping the company increase production of fuel-efficient cars in North America in response to this year’s rise in gasoline prices, these people said.”
It looks like this make-or-break strategic move has taken a giant leap towards actual implementation. I think it’s the right thing to do, but the decision is very risky. It’s not cheap to retool whole factories and America’s appetite for real European mass-market cars (as opposed to European luxury cars) is still just a guess. Not only will vast sums of money and human energy have to be spent retooling, but if the market shifts back to larger vehicles, then Ford will have wiped out that production capacity.
Ford says that they will not comment on the speculation in advance of their second-quarter results due on Thursday of this week.
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