Ford Chief in Cruise Control, Fails to Rev Investors

Ford Chief in Cruise Control, Fails to Rev Investors 601103&sid=axwXdkaGgvhw&refer=news
... Union Talks
Ford held 25.7 percent of the U.S. market in 1995, the last time it gained market share. Reaching that level again ``is not going to happen,'' Merkle said. ``I'd be happy if they can stabilize at 14 percent and be profitable.''
While customers may be holding out for new Ford models, investors are also keeping an eye on this year's national contract talks with the United Auto Workers.
``The biggest hurdle is how they deal with the UAW,'' said Mirko Mikelic, who helps manage $21 billion in fixed-income assets, including Ford bonds, at Fifth Third Asset Management in Grand Rapids, Michigan. ``Getting them to reduce hourly wages and benefits is really tricky.''
Ford hasn't discussed in detail what it's seeking. Sean McAlinden, an analyst at the Center for Automotive Research, said in February that the company wants union backing to cut wages and benefits by 20 percent.
UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, in an interview on WJR-AM radio in Detroit, called such concessions unnecessary. ``They went through this huge financing; they have a ton of cash,'' Gettelfinger said. ``That company is in great shape.''
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