To increase the efficiency of the AutoAlliance Mustang plant in Flat Rock, Mich., Ford Motor Co. will drop one shift and 900 workers in July, according to Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans. Most of the workers that will be cut will have the chance to move to a different plant. Evans said in the next few months, there will be talks with employees about the opportunities.
She said however, that it is still too early to state how many will stay. The plant, which employs almost 2,300 and is jointly owned with Mazda Motor Corp., also produces the Mazda6 sedan.
The Flat Rock factory had a significant amount of downtime last year. She indicated that by reducing the shift and increasing the line speed, production is increased in a "much more stable pattern."
Evans said that some of the workers who stand to lose their jobs have the choice to transfer to at least two plants. Recently, Ford had announced that it will hire 1,200 workers to build the new Ford Explorer SUV at its Chicago plant.
Meanwhile, Ford's Michigan Assembly plant in Wayne, Mich., will be bringing in transferred workers to help in the production of the 2012 Ford Focus. In an interview with Reuters, Evans said that workers who are not offered jobs will be offered buyouts under the terms of Ford's contract with the UAW.
In 2009, the Mustang plant had produced 102,000 vehicles. Ford predicts that the Flat Rock plant will have more output this year. However, this forecast comes after Mustang sales dropped 27% last year, while Mazda6 sales fell 34%.
For the past eight months, the Mustang's sales have failed to surpass that of main competitor, the Chevrolet Camaro. With 12 months of sales, Ford's muscle car sold only 66,623 units; while the new Camaro, which debuted only last March, finished the year with just 4,975 units behind.