Jan. 28--LIMA -- Ford Motor Co. is coming off a "tough year," but the forecast for 2015 is just the opposite.
During Tuesday's Lima Auto Task Force meeting, members spoke with Bernard Swiecki from the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan, who attributes 2014's challenges, and subsequent 2015 successes, to the changes that came with the roll out of the aluminum-bodied F150.
"[We're] expecting that to result in an uptick in Ford sales," he said during a quarterly conference call with the task force. "Things do look like they're going to pick up for Ford this year."
Lima Mayor David Berger was optimistic about Ford's upcoming year, saying he thinks everybody is expecting the motor company, which has an engine plant in Lima, to have a "bang up year."
It's "introducing not just the F150, but a whole new" lineup, he said. "The F150 is the biggest selling model so people were holding off to see the new model. ... Experience and use will direct those sales."
Ford may not be the only local company having success, as the mayor said the market has stabilized for the industry.
"It is growing," he said. A positive "forecast gives everyone a level of confidence that wasn't here several years ago."
Though it may be about a decade in the future, that level of confidence may dim due to business potentially booming south of the border.
Many assembly plants are migrating to Mexico, with experts saying supplier's investments will follow.
"For the time being I think it's unclear as to exactly what the implications are for our region," Berger said about the migration. "The forecast is for continued moderate growth in the industry. ... It's likely that the industry and our region will continue to be prosperous."
Right now, the U.S. is projected to have a successful year and positive gains in 2015, but, eight to 10 years out, Berger said the impact of companies moving some production to Mexico "certainly raises question marks."
Reach Danae King at 567-242-0511 or on Twitter @DanaeKing.
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