Ford grants St. Paul plant two more years

by Mark Zdechlik

Ford Ranger trucks on the lot at St. Paul plant
Ford Ranger trucks on the lot at St. Paul plant (MPR Photo/Marisa Helms)
  1. Listen Ford plant to stay open 2 years longer than planned

    Jul 24, 2008

  2. Listen Morning Edition talks with UAW union representative Roger Terveen

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Ford Motor Company has given a two-year reprieve to its St. Paul Ford plant, which has been scheduled to close next year

Ford officials announced today they plan to keep the St. Paul plant, which makes Ranger pick-up trucks, in production through 2011. Ford says high gas prices are shifting sales away from large trucks and SUVs. The Ranger is Ford's small pick-up.

Roger Terveen is president of United Auto Workers Local 879, the union representing workers at the Twin Cities plant.

"I'm extremely happy for the member who can continue to keep a job here, so I'm extremely happy. For on the economic viewpoint, it's a good thing for the workers here to keep jobs for at least another couple of years. Good paying jobs with benefits," Terveen said.

Turveen says about 1,000 members of the local union have accepted buyouts since 2006. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman called Ford's announcement "great news" for the city.

Ford Motor Co. said Thursday it lost $8.67 billion in the second quarter largely because of a reduction in the value of assets.

The company also announced that it will bring six European small car models to North America by the end of 2012 as it deals with a market shift from trucks to cars brought on by high gasoline prices. The company also will retool two more U.S. truck and sport utility vehicle plants to build small, fuel-efficient vehicles.

The second-quarter loss was $3.88 per share, compared with net profit of $750 million, or 31 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

The loss includes $8 billion worth of write-offs because of a decline in value of North American assets and Ford Motor Credit Co.'s lease portfolio.

Ford's second-quarter revenue was $38.6 billion, down $5.6 billion from the year-ago period.

Ford said it will retool the Michigan Truck plant in suburban Detroit, shifting its products from large SUVs to make global vehicles off the European Focus platform by 2010.

The SUVs made at Michigan Truck - the Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition - will be shifted to the Kentucky Truck plant in Louisville.

The company also will retool the Louisville Assembly Plant, which now builds the Ford Explorer midsize SUV, to produce vehicles on the European Focus frame, starting in 2011.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story)

Related Stories

  • St. Paul hopes Ford converts local plant instead of closing it Ford Motor Co. is expected tomorrow to identify three truck plants that will convert to car production, and local officials hope one of them will be the St. Paul plant, which has been slated to close next year. But one auto industry analyst doubts St. Paul will be spared.
  • Sen. Coleman meets with Ford officials on St. Paul plant Coleman says he doesn't want to raise expectations, and concedes that Ford's decision to close the St. Paul plant is still in place.
  • Ford cuts N. American production, cuts profit goal Ford Motor Co. no longer expects to return to profitability by 2009 and is cutting North American production of pickups and SUVs for the rest of this year. Ford's announcement did not specify how individual plants will fare, but the Ford Ranger pickup is assembled in St. Paul.
  • Ford workers wonder if it's really lights out in '09 United Auto Workers union members at Ford's plant in St. Paul have ratified a new contract that keeps the plant open a year beyond its previously scheduled shutdown. Some local union members wonder if there could be life even beyond the new shutdown date.

1 Photo

  • Sales of the Ford Ranger are a quarter of what they were a decade ago. (Source: Ford Motor Co.)
    Sales of the Ford Ranger are a quarter of what they were a decade ago. (Source: Ford Motor Co.) (MPR Graphic/Than Tibbetts)