LOS ANGELES - Ford Motor Co. will continue to explore the spin-off or sale of Visteon Automotive Systems despite UAW opposition, said Chairman William Clay Ford Jr.
'We need to preserve our flexibility,' he said after a speech here last week. Spinning off Visteon would give it the potential for more non-Ford business, he added.
The company declines official comment on Visteon's future. But behind the scenes, it has considered a spin-off to Ford shareholders and has pursued a deal to sell Visteon to Lear Corp.
The Ford family 'wants whatever will give Visteon employees the best future. We are still studying what we should do. Ford employees are like extended family, and we will do what is best for them.'
Ford noted that the e-mail campaign by UAW locals to various Ford family members 'raised concerns. But I already was well aware of them. It's not like I'm sitting up in my office at my desk not talking to anyone.'
Ford Motor is next up in the UAW talks. The company is in a tough position because DaimlerChrysler has signed a no-spinoff clause in its labor deal.
The chairman characterized his company's relationship with the UAW as 'still good.'
As to whether Ford Motor CEO Jac Nasser has moved too far and too fast with his desire to spin off Visteon, Ford responded:
'I have tremendous faith in Jac. He's not doing all this without talking to me. He's a decisive leader who takes the ball and runs with it. But he won't do anything that is not in the best interests of Visteon.'