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Ford nearly back on track with Fiesta delivery after storm

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Ford nearly back on track with Fiesta delivery after storm



Ford is almost back to a regular delivery schedule for its new Fiesta subcompact car after weeks of delays caused by a hurricane that destroyed roads and rail lines in Mexico.

"Obviously, Hurricane Alex really threw a monkey wrench into things, but it is almost back to normal," Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, told reporters Tuesday night on the eve of a keynote speech at the 2010 Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City.

The Fiesta, Ford's first subcompact car since the late 1990s, started reaching dealerships in late June. In July, the first full month of sales for the Fiesta, Ford sold 3,349 of the cars as dealers and customers grew impatient for the vehicles they ordered.

Fields declined to say how many Fiestas Ford expects to sell in a normal month, but analysts anticipate that the company could sell 70,000 or more annually.

The delivery delays that have hampered the Fiesta are a rare setback for Ford, which has reported five straight quarterly profits and has gained retail market share in the U.S. for 21 of the past 22 months.

The company, which lost more than $30 billion from 2006 to 2008 as it restructured, is even hiring again. The company is adding 1,200 jobs at its Chicago Assembly Plant to build the Ford Explorer.

While most of those jobs are going to existing Ford workers who were temporarily laid off from other factories, Fields said some jobs are among Ford's first new hires at a second-tier wage rate of just more than $14 an hour.

Fields said it is the first time that Ford has been able to use the wage rate that was established in a landmark labor accord with the UAW in 2007.



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