Ford Restructuring

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It's a distance from, say Howell to Wixom, but the closing Ford plant does employ a significant percentage of people who live in Livingston County.

On top of that, the parts suppliers provide jobs for hundreds more. That's the bad news.

The good news is that all of the parts suppliers we talked to do not anticipate layoffs. Ogihara, for example, does stamping for the Wixom plant. They're based in Howell. They say they'll continue to work with Ford, and with others.

DMI Automotive, Inc. is also based in Howell. They do chrome plating of die for the Big Three and for foreign automakers. They say about 40 percent of their business is linked to Ford, but they expect to continue working hard for their other clients, and to focus on emerging markets.

Ford's "Way Forward Plan" says by 2012, the automaker will cut 25 to 30 thousand jobs and cease production at 14 North American plants.

It also wants to cut material costs by six billion dollars and return its North American auto operations to profitability by 2008.

Ford's CEO says the cuts are painful, but necessary.

"We're going to be a big company that thinks like a small company, and if we can do that, Ford will win and win big."