The Detroit Free Press reports Ford is set to boost production by 40,000 units. The company plans to half its summer shutdown to just one week at 13 plants this July. Ford says that it is already operating most of its facilities at maximum capacity, and adding a week of production is a good way to balance manufacturing with demand. The automaker is also adding extra shifts at three of its production facilities this month. Overall, Ford will increase its production this year by a whopping 400,000
Over the course of the next three years, Ford Motor Company plans to invest $850 million to retool seven of its Michigan plants. A significant portion of this funding will go towards engineering and producing Ford's new six-speed automatic transmission. By 2013, this six-speed auto, which is touted as one of Ford's most efficient trannies, will be available in every model in the automaker's lineup.
For the entire month of December, Ford's plant in St. Paul, Minnesota, where about 1,000 workers assemble the Ford Ranger, will shut down. According to reports, it is normal for the plant to be closed for the week of Christmas, but an additional three weeks of downtime is necessary to "align production with demand."
The Detroit News reports that Ford has decided to halt its plans to build a low-cost auto plant in the southern U.S. The newspaper says Ford had intended the plant to be a UAW "beachhead" in an area of the U.S. covered with Japanese and German-owned plants. In exchange, the UAW was to give Ford competitive worker agreements at the plant so that cost-competitive cars could be produced there. Ford Americas President Mark Fields, however, pointed out the plan is not dead, just idled.