Ford Sees Manufacturing Plants Running At Full Speed By 2008

After announcing the closings of 16 plants and thousands of job cuts, Ford anticipates 100 percent capacity.

(AP) - Ford Motor predicted on Wednesday that its North American manufacturing plants will be running at 100 percent capacity by 2008 following its restructuring plan that expects to shutter 16 plants within the next six years.

Ford said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it planned to build 3 million vehicles without paying overtime while its “maximum installed” capacity would be 3.6 million vehicles, which would include overtime.

The automaker said capacity in 2008 would be projected at 100 percent “as a result of plant idlings as well as shift elimination and linseed reductions.”

“Reducing our manned capacity in this manner allows us to achieve major cost savings versus today, while allowing plant idlings to be coordinated with planned product changes, which we believe is the best economic approach,” the company said in the regulatory filing.

Ford said last week that it would cut $5 billion in annual costs by the end of 2008 by cutting 10,000 white-collar workers and offering buyouts to all 75,000 union workers. The company said its North American factory capacity would be 26 percent less than 2005 levels.

The company has told investors that they should not expect a full-year profit from its North American automotive operations before 2009.

The new cuts announced last week brought the total number of plant closures to 16, adding to the 14 plants announced in a previous restructuring plan. The company has identified nine plants to be closed through 2008.

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