The two car companies also face stiff competition from Asian automakers, whose reputation for building fuel-efficient small cars is paying off in the face of gas prices that topped $3 a gallon this summer. Companies like Toyota, Honda and Hyundai of Korea have set sales records in the United States as the market share of the three Detroit companies has hit record lows. They also have new plants under construction in the United States, and may build more.
You would have thought Ford would have learned this lession the first time around, back in the early 80s, but apparently not.
In January, Ford said it would cut 30,000 jobs and close 14 plants over the next six years. It had offered buyouts first to that group of workers, but only about 6,000 employees accepted them. Now, facing the likelihood of additional job cuts, Ford is offering buyouts to all of its hourly workers, apparently in the hope that everyone at a plant set to close will accept them.
Otherwise, workers enter a program that guarantees them virtually all their pay plus full benefits for the life of the unionâ€™s contract, and they remain on Fordâ€™s payroll until a job opens up. Given that Ford is cutting so many jobs, that is not likely to happen.
While the unions work hard at bleeding the carcass dry. Lovely.