Ford submits business plan to Congress: May be profitable by 2011, submits electric-car strategy

FoMoCo this morning submitted its business plan to Congress detailing the company’s plan to return to profitability and a request for access to temporary bridge loans in case the current economic crisis gets worse or if its major rivals file for bankruptcy. Ford said that its plan also includes “aggressive restructuring actions and the introduction of more high-quality, safe and fuel-efficient vehicles ““ including a broader range of hybrid-electric vehicles and the introduction of advanced plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicles.”

FoMoCo said that it asking for access of up to $9 billion in bridge financing but emphasized that it hopes to complete its transformation without accessing the loan should Congress approve the funds. 2011 seems to be a key year for FoMoCo. The Detroit automaker said that it plans to break-even or return to profitability by 2011 and plans to introduce a battery powered van-type vehicle for commercial use in 2010 and battery-powered sedan in 2011.

Ford”s submission to Congress included new details about Ford”s future plans and forecasts, including:

– Based on current business planning assumptions ““ including U.S. industry sales for 2009, 2010 and 2011 of 12.5 million units, 14.5 million units and 15.5 million units, respectively ““ Ford expects both its overall and its North American automotive business pre-tax results to be breakeven or profitable in 2011, excluding any special items.

– As part of a continuing focus on building the Ford brand, the company said it is exploring strategic options for Volvo Car Corporation, including the possible sale of the Sweden-based premium automaker.  The strategic review is in line with a broad range of actions Ford is taking to strengthen its balance sheet and ensure it has the resources to fund its plan.  Since 2007, Ford has sold Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and the majority of its stake in Mazda.

– Ford”s plan calls for an investment of approximately $14 billion in the U.S. on advanced technologies and products to improve fuel efficiency during the next seven years.

– Half of the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury light-duty nameplates by 2010 will qualify as “Advanced Technology Vehicles” under the U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act ““ increasing to 75 percent in 2011 and more than 90 percent in 2014.  Ford said it has included these projects in its application to the Department of Energy for loans under that Act and hopes to receive $5 billion in direct loans by 2011 to support Ford”s investment in advanced technologies and products.

– From its largest light duty trucks to its smallest cars, Ford will improve the fuel economy of its fleet an average of 14 percent for 2009 models, 26 percent for 2012 models and 36 percent for 2015 models ““ compared with the fuel economy of its 2005 fleet.  Overall, Ford expects to achieve cumulative gasoline fuel savings from advanced technology vehicles of 16 billion gallons from 2005 to 2015.

– Next month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Ford will discuss in detail the company”s accelerated vehicle electrification plan, which includes bringing to market by 2012 a family of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles.  The work will include partnering with battery and powertrain systems suppliers to deliver a full battery electric vehicle (BEV) in a van-type vehicle for commercial fleet use in 2010 and a BEV sedan in 2011.  Ford said it will develop these vehicles in a manner that enables it to reduce costs and ultimately make BEVs more affordable for consumers.

– The 2007 UAW-Ford negotiations resulted in significant progress being made in reducing the company”s total labor cost.  Given the present economic crisis and its impact upon the automotive industry, however, Ford is presently engaged in discussions with the UAW with the objective to further reduce its cost structure and eliminate the remaining labor cost gap that exists between Ford and the transplants.

– As previously was announced, Ford plans two additional plant closures this quarter and four additional plant closures between 2009 and 2011.  The company also has announced its intent to close or sell what will be four remaining ACH plants.  The company said it will continue to aggressively match manufacturing capacity to real demand.

– Ford will continue to work to reduce its dealer and supplier base to increase efficiency and promote mutual profitability.  By year end, Ford estimates it will have 3,790 U.S. dealers, a reduction of 606 dealers overall ““ or 14 percent from year-end 2005 ““ including a reduction of 16 percent in large markets.  In addition, Ford has been able to reduce the number of production suppliers eligible for major sourcing from 3,400 in 2004 to approximately 1,600 today, a reduction of 53 percent.  Ford eventually plans to further reduce the number of suppliers eligible for major sourcing to 750.

– Ford also confirmed today that it has decided to sell its five corporate aircraft.  In addition, Ford CEO Mulally announced that, should Ford need to access funds from a potential government bridge loan, he would work for a salary of $1 a year ““ as a sign of his confidence in the company”s transformation plan and future.

To read Ford”s submission to the U.S. Congress visit www.thefordstory.com.