Mark Fields, Ford executive vice president and president of the Americas, told Sunday's Detroit Free Press that although there is more work to be done, the $357 million North American division pre-tax profit after more than $16.8 billion in losses since 2005 represented real progress.
"We are not done with the turnaround," Fields told the Free Press, but he added, Ford is positioning itself to be a world-class competitor.
"It's been quite a journey," he said. "We are starting to really feel the positive benefits of the turnaround."
Fields said Ford's pre-recession "Way Forward" cuts, in which more than a dozen plants were closed and 48 percent of its salaried and hourly workforces eliminated -- as well as an early focus on fuel-efficient cars -- allowed the automaker to match its inventory with the lowered demand that came later.
"We ... did take the tough actions to get the business operationally fit, and that's really prepared us" to survive the national recession, Fields told the News.
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