March 14, 2005

Thunderbird gone, 200 workers laid off

Wixom, Michigan – Ford will cease production of its retro-styled Thunderbird this summer, and will lay off about 200 employees, or 11 per cent of the work force, at its Wixom Assembly Plant.

Ford spokesperson Anne Marie Gattari said the workers will be offered jobs at other Ford plants. Those affected could include some salaried workers, although Gattari says the company is still working out details. The plant employs about 1,800 hourly and salaried employees; it also makes the Lincoln LS and Town Car, and does some final assembly work on the Ford GT.

Ford announced last Thursday that it was discontinuing the Thunderbird at the end of its 2005 model year. The convertible first went on sale in the summer of 2001 but never met Ford’s expectations, which projected sales of 25,000 units per year. Only 11,998 were sold in 2004, 33 per cent fewer than 2003. Since 2001, 54,360 have been built.

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