Looks like 2014 will be a busy year for Ford Motor Company. In a press release, Ford says the company will launch 23 new vehicles around the world, open three additional manufacturing facilities and add more than 5,000 new jobs in the United States to meet growing demand for its products.
Ford’s announcement marks a sharp turnaround from the dark days in 2006-2009 when the company, close to the brink of bankruptcy, shed some 40,000 employees and closed 14 manufacturing plants. Unlike crosstown rivals GM and Chrysler, Ford managed to avoid bankruptcy.
Ford says the company expects to produce six million vehicles worldwide in 2013. That works out to about 16 vehicles per minute. Ford says much of this sales success can be attributed to the redesigned Ford Focus, which is on track to reach 1.1 million sales this year.
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Ford will open three new manufacturing facilities – two of them in Asia Pacific and one in South America. In the process Ford plans to hire more than 6,000 employees in Asia next year, the majority of them hourly employees.
Similarly, in the United States, Ford expects to create more than 5,000 new jobs, including 3,300 salaried positions, the largest hiring initiative since 2000. In the past two years, Ford says the company has created more than 14,000 jobs in North America alone.
According to Ford, more than 80 percent of the new salaried jobs will be technical professionals who work in product development, manufacturing, quality and IT.
Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant will add about 2,000 jobs – more than 1,000 of which are new hires – to support demand for Ford F-150 plus the all-new Transit family of commercial vehicles starting next summer.
Will he stay or will he go?
Speculation in the tech blog world is that Ford CEO Allan Mulally may replace Steve Ballmer when he retires from Microsoft. Mulally was recruited away from Boeing Aircraft by Bill Ford, Jr. in 2006. Mulally was brought in as a turnaround CEO to save Ford from bankruptcy so the Ford family could retain control of the company. Considering what Mulally has accomplished, few would fault him if he said, "My work here is done," and rode into the sunset, or at least back to Seattle where he maintains a residence and has family ties.
Read more: Is Allan Mulally moving to Microsoft?