Faced with declining sales of its sports utility vehicles, Ford Motor Co. has announced that it will eliminate the second shift at its Louisville Assembly Plant by the end of this summer. The decision will affect approximately 800 of the 2,200 employees at the plant.
Ford had hoped to achieve the majority of its cutbacks through a companywide buy-out plan offered to all hourly workers. The buy-out offered several options to workers, with lump sum offers ranging from $50,000 to $140,000 and an array of health care or education subsidies.
However, only 137 workers at the LAP have accepted the buy-out.
According to Ford officials, the change to a one-shift production pattern does not affect production volume but instead allows the plants to operate more efficiently by operating continuously and reducing “down weeks.” In recent years, Ford has utilized week-long plant shutdowns in an effort to better align production with demand.
Ford continues to underscore its long-term commitment to the company’s operations at both the Louisville Assembly Plant and the Kentucky Truck Plant. (The Kentucky Truck Plant employs around 4,000 workers who produce the company’s F-series trucks.) Those plans include investing in a new body shop and new product at the Louisville Assembly Plant by 2010. (The last Ford Explorer is slated to come off the line in August 2009.)
Ford has been approved for a $60 million tax incentive package by the state government and the city of Louisville that can be used for improvements and upgrades at the Kentucky Truck Plant. That package can also be renegotiated for additional investments at either of the Louisville Ford facilities.