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Consumers should not be affected by Ford’s downsizing

DETROIT – Saturday’s announcement from Ford may not be all gloom-and-doom from Motown.

Monday, January 14, 2002

DETROIT – Saturday’s announcement from Ford may not be all gloom-and-doom from Motown.

On Saturday, the first day of the Detroit 2002 North American International Auto Show , Ford announced that it would layoff 35,000 employees worldwide while closing five of the company’s 44 North American plants, and cut production of four auto models – the Ford Escort, Mercury Cougar, Lincoln Continental, and Mercury Villager.

In Ohio, a plant in Cleveland will be cut and a plant in Avon Lake could find itself on the chopping block.

Brad Sang, general manager of Turnpike Ford in Gallipolis said dealers don’t fully know the impact of the weekend’s announcement because the plant closings will not happen all at once. Sang said some of the information presented by the media is misleading.

"The plant closings will come over the next three years, not immediately," Sang said.

He also said that even though the company is cutting some of the more familiar lines such as the Cougar and Escort, Ford, Mercury and Lincoln will introduce new models over the next five years, which could offer the auto manufacturer a needed lifeline.

"I sat in on the meeting via satellite," Sang said, "and no one mentioned that the company will introduce the new cars," Sang added, stating the announcement isn’t all bad news for the company.

Sang added that customers loyal to certain products have come into his dealership to order a model in advance before the product is discontinued.

Sang added that customer service on the vehicles, even after the models are discontinued, will still be available.

"A lot of people don’t realize that some parts are interchangeable," Sang said.

He added that the announcement "shouldn’t affect buyer confidence."