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We're getting mixed signals from Ford. One week ago the automaker announced it was distributing bonuses to every single one of its salaried and hourly workers, just to say thanks for helping the company reduce costs, improve quality and reduce the ranks. Today we learn that Ford President of the Americas Mark Fields has told his workforce in a weekly webcast that the company earned poor marks on its own internal report card. The poor marks resulted from missing sales targets and not cutting material costs enough in February. We were under the impression that successful cost cutting was one of the reasons for paying out at least $36 million dollars in bonuses to its workers.

We made the argument last week, and again in this week's podcasts, that we bet many Ford workers would much rather have their bonus money go back into the company to ensure all the right moves are made during these uncertain times and their jobs remain secure. This seems even more evident today in light of Ford's failing to meet its own targets for February. Those many millions could pay for the next niche vehicle that sparks a renaissance, or any number of things that could help save the company. Heck, it could pay for a Taurus SHO!

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Ford Board of Directors should just plain fire the clowns responsible for this mess. FoMoCo is the least innovative company in the market, they have made so many bad decisions and they have failed to lead the market or even keep up with the market. They have let their great products (Linclon LS, Taurus, T-Bird/Cougar, Focus) wither on the vine and die a slow death. And then they produce astonishingly uninspired stuff like the Contour and Ford Five Hundred? Outrageous! The world wants cars that get 60 MPG and Ford has the capability to produce them - but they just will not do it - astonishing! They offer grdeat stuff in Europe and doo doo in the States? What is that about?

      It seems that the attitude from the Board is "We don't care what customers want - this is what we sell. Take it or leave it."

      Yea, the Ford Board should just fire those responsible. Oh, the Boardmembers are the ones responsible. Well, they should just fire themselves.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The bonuses were paid for meeting several goals set for CY 2006. This internal "report card" is for one month. It's quite possible that Ford will meet all of it's goals for '07, and pay bonuses again.

      Larger if more goals are met/exceeded and smaller if less goals are met. The monthly report card helps point out areas were the company will need to pick up the slack for the remainder of the year, but the bonuses are/were determined by using full year metrics.

      Now here's my question: if Ford does not meet it's internal targets for several months, will they lower their targets to an attainable level for the remainder of the year? I would hope not; otherwise it would seem that the 'bonuses' really aren't related to any merit.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #6 - No matter what you may think of Ford's business decisions, do know that there is an entire city of people who need this company to be successful. It's very easy to stand outside Detroit, throw your hand sin the air and laugh. It's not so easy when your home, your family and your community are on the line. I know those of us who work at Ford or with Ford are very committed to doing whatever is asked of us to make this company a success again. I want to believe that the decisions they are making now are the right ones that will ensure a sustainable future for this company. I want to stand tall and know that this company is not going to "just plain die." It's not that I want to see this company succeed to come back here, beat my chest and say "I told you so". It's because there's a lot more at stake here than just the health of a corporation. It's the health of an entire region of the same country that you live in as well. Why you would wish failure and death on us -- I don't know?
      • 8 Years Ago
      #2 I dont think you fully understood what Joe said.

      If Ford can solve their problems then power to them. But Joe and I as well dont think Ford can do it.
      So why burn the cash? If Ford goes bellyup peopole will be left pennyless. Atleast now everyone can get a good settlement.

      I personally think Ford needs a new Ranger. Its a small pickup. Not much investment needed. Engines and Transmissions are plenty at Ford. Just put together a modern platform. Pickups are cheap to produce. Put in the 200hp 3.0, a 250hp 3.5 and the 217hp 4.0 in it. The will do well and make lots of money at this.

      Instead they called the minivan segment a dying breed and left.
      They call the compact pickup a niche market and are not competing in it. This is not right.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow where to begin on here? So many fools, so little time. Ok, what would you miss if Ford died? They say 2 million people would be affected in some way or form. How about carwise. The best trucks on the planet, the best affordable sports car (mustang) remember Chevy fan, this car killed off your beloved Camaro and Firebird and outsold both 2 to 1. Then we go to the Fusion. Ford, Mazda, and Volvo work on many platforms together. The Fusion is not a Mazda 6. It is a stretched and reconfigured 6 platform that FORD intended to use with Mazda for many vehicles. Some of you complain about Ford doing this, but you are the same ones who praise being a global player. Well, that is what Ford is doing. Now they have a car and a crossover that wipes out the competition. So Ford missed their goal by a little. It is going to happen, it takes a while for people to realize they are making good cars again. Of course the Mustang is the exception and never had that problem. Ford is on the right track. Everyone said GM would die, and look at them now. The next 3 years are going to bring a lot of surprises. By 2010 or 11, Ford should not be having any problems anymore. And Steve, killing off Lincoln would be stupid. Not only would it cost money, it would lessen Fords overall sales and income. The MKZ and MKX are doing very well, and the Navigator too. With a Town car and LS replacement on the way, Lincoln will finally have a full line up of fresh cars to compete. Mercury is actually a very undervalued and overlooked brand. The Milan is a very nice little car that I think few know about. I personally like its interior better than the Fusions. Ford is going to be fine, so all of you haters might as well get used to the fact that they are not going anywhere.
      • 8 Years Ago
      mark Fields should be fired. He is weakening Ford day by day.

      What never ceases to amaze me is how stupid Ford's leadership has been. When the company is not doing well you indentify those areas which are in a mess and sort them out rather than selling those assets which are healthy and strong.

      So completely has Ford gone insane that instead of getting rid of jaguar and land rover and killing useless mercury and lincoln, Ford sold off aston-martin, which is making profit, has a healthy line-up and bright future.

      • 8 Years Ago
      Why can't anybody build a hydraulic hybird?
      • 8 Years Ago
      I dont know what I would miss if Ford died.
      I do know. Nothing. Nothing special about anything they make.
      • 8 Years Ago
      hydraulic hybrid is only sutable for large commercial trucks (buses, garbage trucks ect) it is inheriently heavy, requiring large pressure tanks filled with hydraulic fluid. it will do more harm than good on any passenger vehicle, no amount of investment in the tech will change that.
      • 8 Years Ago
      You obviously don't live in Detroit, Joe.
      • 8 Years Ago
      John Neff you are truly a WANKER!!! Neff I know you've been shopping the idea that workers don't wan't/need that 300-800 dollars and would rather not be paid it. Put your theory to the test and visit a Ford plant. Ask an auto worker. Bring a video camera so I can watch every auto worker you talk to punch you out. You elitist snob.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "naggs wouldn't it be more appropriate to ask allan mullaly to sacrifice first? How dare you begrudge a working man his wages."

      most ford execs took a paycut about a year ago, but that is besids the point. noone is calling the bonus recipients selfish or ignorant or anything bad at all. i dont understand where all this anamosity is coming from.

      "Neff I know you've been shopping the idea that workers don't wan't/need that 300-800 dollars and would rather not be paid it."

      noone ever said that. only an idiot would claim that ANYONE doesnt want $300. ask anyone on the face of the earth if they want $300. given the choice between getting $300 and not getting $300 is no choice at all. but what if the choice is between some cash now, and a little job security 5 years from now?

      some believe that ford's back is against the wall, i personally give a 50% chance that the company survives the end of the decade under ford family ownership. in that context, $40 millon could be better spent on product that would keep employees working.

      its not a slight against the working man, its just a little speculation about the future. calling someone an "elitist snob" for understanding basic opportunity cost is pretty ignorant.

      i do however disagree with neff that "many Ford workers would much rather have their bonus money go back into the company". its just not realistic to hand somone $300-800 and then assume that they will want to give it back, not matter what the circumstances.
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