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As you may have heard, the final round of buy-out offers are going out to U.S. salaried employees this week. 2006 started with about 42,000 U.S. salaried, 4,000 left in 1Q, and another group get offers through this week, with the goal to be at 28,000 by March 1, 2007. As an aside, the salaried offers are much less lucrative than those offered to the UAW.

Top management says that this will be a product led recovery that is supported by cost reductions in material and various labor costs. One point of concern is that the new product is not leading us anywhere yet. The much acclaimed Fusion was the #31 best selling vehicle in the U.S. through October. Through November, it was #32, despite the addition of AWD and inventory levels have risen to 128 days (60 is considered "normal").


There is a lot of new product through 2007. Edge, MKX, Escape, Mariner, Super Duty and others that haven't been announced yet. This is it....they better perform....especially as the #1 seller (F Series truck) is under a lot of pressure from GM and Toyota. If they perform, then Ford could be a good investment. If they don't.....


More layoffs are expected next year and I expect that will take off another 25% of salaried...taking us down to 21,000. Some of that is being accomplished as new vehicles increasingly are engineered overseas. Yep, that's right....that very American icon "Ford Motor Company" is rapidly changing vis a vis the U.S.

The word is that the U.S. salaried headcount will drop to just over 10,000 when the dust settles (in a few years), with only trucks and large cars designed in the U.S.....and Ford's U.S. sales increasingly are built outside of the U.S.

"You have skills critical to the Company and it's recovery. You are not being offered a package."

At least for now..... ;)

ya gotta be prepared...
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