Works council criticism: Focus order freeze sparks speculation at Ford plant in Saarlouis

Works council criticism: Focus order freeze sparks speculation at Ford plant in Saarlouis

Criticism of the works council
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Focus order freeze sparks speculation at Ford’s Saarlouis plant

Anyone who wants to order a new Ford Focus is currently out of luck. The “Orderbank” is closed – customers can therefore not order new cars of the model produced at the Ford plant in Saarlouis, criticizes the works council. This caused renewed speculation among the battered workforce.

Ford management is not authorizing any new Focus orders at this time. Because the order books are fuller than what can currently come off the production line of this car model in Saarlouis. This is company information on how the works council informs its staff. “The order bank […] remains closed.

And it’s not just the Focus that’s stuck. According to the head of the works council, Markus Thal, there are “especially with the Fiesta and other Ford models” difficulties on the assembly lines, according to management.

Ford Focus: Block acceptance of new orders

In the case of the Focus alone, which rolls off the assembly line in Saarland, the list of pre-orders is so full that production capacity will be exhausted by the end of the year, employee representatives write to their staff . Orders were now going into the coming year. Long waiting times for customers should be avoided by blocking the acceptance of new orders.


    Still full of hope: start of series production of the third Focus generation at the Ford plant in Saarlouis on December 6, 2010. At that time, Ford boss Bernhard Mattes (left) and the Saarland Prime Minister Peter Muller (CDU).  Today the end of the car type in Saarland is certain: 2025.

Still full of hope: start of series production of the third Focus generation at the Ford plant in Saarlouis on December 6, 2010. At that time, Ford boss Bernhard Mattes (left) and the Saarland Prime Minister Peter Muller (CDU). Today the end of the car type in Saarland is certain: 2025.
Photo: dpa/Oliver Dietze

Works council chairman Thal describes the situation as follows: “Anyone who could order a Focus today would not receive it until late spring 2023.” Waiting times of several months would then be the norm. “The new car would only be delivered in April/May,” he said when asked by SZ.

The reason for this is the persistence of delivery bottlenecks for individual parts. That’s why the model can’t roll off the assembly line at the usual pace. But that’s not the only thing that matters. This is how inflation makes things difficult for the automaker. If a car is paid for today when it is ordered, the increase in costs, difficult to estimate at present, could transform everything into a subsidy for the group.

order materialpp makes speculation at Ford Saarlouis: will the production of the Focus stop sooner than expected?

However, the works council considers this prescription freeze to be a mistake. Thal: “This gives room for speculation and thus creates uncertainty both among employees and among customers.” They have already lost faith in Ford anyway.

Many do not know whether it is still profitable to order the model. At the moment, only dealers offer the car in the two or three configurations available to them. Other wishes are not possible. “Some colleagues fear that the end of Focus production will come sooner than officially announced.”

Thal therefore advocates the reopening of the command bank, as the command list is called in technical jargon. This would at least signal – even with longer delivery times – that the car type is still available in the longer term.

The reduced production affects the total number of cars to be made this year. There should be 117,000 instead of the 195,000 new vehicles. In the coming year, it should be 143,000 again, the works council forwards the relevant information to the management. However, these are only rough plans as the spare parts supply situation is difficult to estimate.

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