Ford plans to hire 2,200 white collar workers this year and also is doubling its quarterly dividend to 10 cents per share.(Photo: Carlos Osorio, AP)
DETROIT -- Ford is adding 2,200 U.S. salaried jobs this year - the
most white-collar hiring the automaker has done in more than 10 years.
jobs will be in such areas as product development, manufacturing and
information technology. They are full-time Ford jobs with benefits - not
agency or contract workers. Ford ended 2012 with 28,000 salaried
workers in North America. Openings will be posted on the Ford Careers
website at www.careers.ford.com.
Ford did not disclose the exact
locations where the new salaried jobs will be, but "a significant number
will be in southeast Michigan," said spokesman Todd Nissen.
month, the Detroit Free Press reported that Ford plans to create 2,350
hourly jobs and invest $773 million in six Michigan plants by 2015.
we expand our product lineup of fuel-efficient vehicles, we need more
people in critical areas - such as in a range of engineering activities,
vehicle production, computer software and other IT functions," said Joe
Hinrichs, Ford president of the Americas.
MORE: Ford doubles dividend to 10 cents
Ford also is doubling
its quarterly dividend to 10 cents per share, payable March 1, a move
that pleased investors who pushed Ford shares to $13.83, its highest
closing price since July 8, 2011.
The dividend hike may indicate
Ford is confident that it won't disappoint investors when it releases
fourth-quarter earnings later this month. Those figures will be used to
calculate profit-sharing for hourly workers and bonuses for salaried
workers, usually paid in March. Last year, 40,600 UAW workers received
average profit-sharing of $5,000.
Last year, about 20,000 salaried workers received both bonuses and raises for the first time since 2008.
shed tens of thousands of jobs beginning in the middle of last decade
and through the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. New car sales in the
U.S. rose 13.4 percent, to 14.49 million in 2012.
Last year, Ford
created more than 8,100 salaried and hourly jobs in the U.S. About 1,000
of those represented work brought back to U.S. factories previously
done by suppliers in Japan and Mexico.
As part of the 2011 UAW contract, Ford pledged to add 12,000 hourly jobs and invest $6.2 billion in U.S. plants by 2015.
lost market share in 2012 because it could not make enough cars and
trucks and because Toyota and Honda regained sales they lost in 2011.
year, Ford began adding equipment and workers to boost North American
production by 400,000 vehicles a year. The expansions and launches of
such models as the Ford Fusion, Escape, Focus and C-Max kept Jim
Tetreault, vice president for North America manufacturing, hopping.
"It was the most launches and capacity adds in a year that I have ever had in my career," Tetreault said.
year, Ford is rolling out the Fiesta ST, Transit commercial vans and
Lincoln MKZ. The next few years will bring redesigns of the Mustang,
F-Series pickup, Edge and Lincoln MKX, as well as replacements for the
Explorer, Taurus and Lincoln MKS.
Hiking the dividend comes about
one year after Ford resumed paying anything to shareholders after having
suspended the dividend for five years. From 2006 through 2011, Ford
took on massive debt to weather the worst economic crisis since the
That debt was rated as "junk," or below
investment grade, meaning the company had to pay higher interest rates
on bonds. The aggressive borrowing allowed Ford to survive without the
same government assistance that the Obama administration provided
General Motors and Chrysler in 2009.es about one year after Ford resumed
paying anything to shareholders after having suspended the dividend for
five years. From 2006 through 2011, Ford took on massive debt to
weather the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Nesvold, equity analyst with Jefferies & Co. in New York, said the
dividend increase is a positive signal that Ford's restructuring of its
unprofitable European business is having an impact.
Nesvold raised his target price of Ford's stock to $16.
is closing plants, consolidating manufacturing and reducing workers in
Europe, where it lost slightly more than $1 billion in the first nine
months of 2012.
Alisa Priddle, Detroit Free Press