Ford grants St. Paul plant two more years

Ford Ranger trucks on the lot at St. Paul plant
Ford Ranger trucks on the lot at St. Paul plant (MPR Photo/Marisa Helms)

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.

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)

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)

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