Ford Will Close Cleveland Casting Plant

1,100 will lose their jobs

Ford Motor Co. said May 7 it would close facilities in Cleveland, Ohio, by 2009, affecting some 1,100 hourly workers, as part of its North American belt-tightening. Ford, which lost a record $12.7 billion in 2006, said the move was part of the "Way Forward" program to restore profitability to its North American automotive operations by aligning manufacturing capacity with customer demand.

The Cleveland casting plant opened in 1952 and employs 1,100 hourly and 118 salaried workers, according to Ford. It produces cast-iron components for engines for Ford trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs).

Ford also announced a temporary shutdown beginning in two weeks at its Cleveland Engine Plant for about 12 months, saying production could resume sooner based on market demand. The automaker said its 3.5-liter engine now will be produced at a Lima, Ohio, plant "to better utilize capacity and improve overall productivity." The engine plant employs 530 hourly and 47 salaried workers.

A second engine plant in Cleveland with 700 workers will continue to operate and produce 3.0-liter engines for Ford and Mazda cars and SUVs and for some Jaguar models.

With the latest action, Ford is closing a total of 16 North American plants under its vast overhaul plan.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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