Dealers predict sales boost with Ford-UAW deal
Ford Motor Co.'s tentative UAW contract would create 5,750 U.S. hourly jobs and put more cash in the pockets of Ford workers. And dealers, who look for any reason to be optimistic about selling more cars, see that as good news.
The new jobs and extra cash will be especially helpful to dealers near Ford factory towns.
"The employees can put those wages back into the purchase of an automobile," says Jim Seavitt, president of Village Ford in Dearborn, Mich. "My core market area is Ford employees. I've lost 50 percent of those in the last five years, so anything that would add to new jobs is extremely good for us."
Settling the contract without a strike also was a plus.
"Good news is good news," says Ed Witt, owner of Witt Lincoln in San Diego. "Good news at Ford means the stock goes up, Ford can invest more, and people feel good about Ford and Lincoln products."
Ford hasn't shared with dealers details of the tentative contract, which faces a ratification vote by Ford's 41,000 U.S. hourly workers.
But it's known that Ford has committed to invest $16 billion in U.S. manufacturing operations. The union said Ford agreed to build the next-generation Ford Fusion sedan in Flat Rock, Mich., in 2013; add Transit Commercial Van production in Kansas City, Mo.; and transfer medium-sized commercial truck assembly from Mexico to Avon Lake, Ohio.
Some analysts say Ford's production commitment gives the company more manufacturing flexibility.
UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles said production at Flat Rock would be about 75,000 to 125,000 Fusions annually, supplementing production in Hermosillo, Mexico. That will mean a second shift at the Flat Rock plant, which now builds the Ford Mustang and Mazda6 sedan. The Mazda product is being discontinued at Flat Rock.
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