St. Paul Ford plant still in limbo

class=img_thumbleft>Today's Wall Street Journal has the inside dope on impending layoffs and plant closings at Ford. Reporter Jeffrey McCracken writes that the automaker will ultimately shed some 30,000 jobs, with 10 plants closing, including assembly plants in Atlanta and St. Louis. Ford is scheduled to make an official announcement about its plans on Monday.

Conspicuously not named in today's article (available only to subscribers) as slated for closure is the St. Paul Ford plant, which the WSJ reported last month was among the facilities to be shuttered. Also of significance, the article states that no vehicle brands will be eliminated. The St. Paul plant is the only North American manufacturer of Ford Rangers. With sales of the compact pick-up truck slack, it was thought to be a candidate for elimination. (Sales of the truck have dropped by roughly a quarter each of the last two years.)

This enigmatic graf would seem to be the most relevant locally:

Some specific plants will be named, but other plants such as one in Wixom, Mich. that Ford plans to close, won't be announced yet as the auto maker deals with government bodies and decides where to move certain products.

In other words, the St. Paul plant's ultimate fate could still be up in the air after Monday's announcement.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty led a delegation to Detroit earlier this month in an attempt to convince Ford officials to keep the plant open. His pitch was to convert the St. Paul facility into a research center dedicated to developing alternative fuel vehicles.