Ford's R&D investment made possible by sacrifice of others

Sales and sacrifice -- the two go together at Ford. Yet the former seems to get all the glory.

The automaker credited growing U.S. sales for its ability to invest $135 million and add 220 jobs in three Michigan facilities by 2012.

Ford announced the investment Monday at its Rawsonville Road plant in Ypsilanti, Mich. Hundreds of UAW workers gathered around a stage where VIPs raved about improved quality leading to higher sales and Ford’s competitiveness.

Sales are a key factor to any company’s growth. But let’s not forget that just a few years ago thousands of UAW members gave up money and benefits to help the company trim down and survive.

Similarly, hundreds of dealerships closed. Ford says that makes the automaker more competitive.

Of all the VIPs on the stage Monday, the most underrated and significant ones weren’t there. There are thousands of unheralded folks who sacrificed then for the investment that comes now.