1/30/2008

Ford to increase capacity utilization at Turkey plant

The Wall Street Journal - Ford Motor Co. plans to bring its European commercial van, known as Transit Connect, to the U.S., people familiar with the company's plans said. Ford aims to import the vans from its factory in Turkey, a person familiar with the matter said. Sales of Ford's Transit Connect vans rose 47% between 2003 and 2006 to 69,572 vehicles, according to the latest data from Global Insight, an economic-forecasting firm. Full 2007 results were expected to drop slightly but remain above 69,000... Adding some volume of Transit Connect vans in the U.S. could increase capacity utilization for Ford at the Turkey plant, spreading fixed costs such as engineering over a higher number of vehicles, said David Cole, who heads the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. "It's a big deal to get that capacity utilization as high as you can," Mr. Cole said. "The closer you get to 100% utilization or beyond... you become profitable. The last car you make is more profitable than the first car you make" he added.

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