Ford's latest round of jobs cuts in Europe will mostly affect its German operations but the company's UK workforce will also be impacted, press reports said.
Ford plans to restructure in Europe as the automaker drops its traditionally high-selling but low-margin passenger cars including the Focus and Fiesta to switch to crossovers, SUVs and all-electric vehicles.
The company wants to ax thousands of jobs in product development and hundreds of administrative roles, with German locations most affected, the IG Metall union said on Monday, vowing action that would disrupt Ford production if the cuts go ahead.
At Ford's technical center in Merkenich, 2,500 of the 3,800 jobs could go. The center does development work for the Fiesta small car and Focus compact model, which are being phased out. Ford currently employs 6,250 people in product development in Europe.
About 700 jobs, or 20 percent of the workforce, could be cut at Ford's European headquarters in Cologne and about 1,200 jobs will be axed at the spare parts business, also in Cologne, local press reports said.
Jobs will also be cut at Ford's research center in Aachen, Germany, the Ford technical center in Dunton in the UK and at the Lommel Proving Ground in Belgium, reports said.
Ford will need fewer people working in product development in Europe as it switches to selling only battery-electric cars in the region by 2030.
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Ford could cut jobs at its Lommel Proving Ground in Belgium. Shown are 1,326 Mustangs brought to the track in 2019 to set a world record for the most Ford Mustang sport cars in a single parade.
The company is spending $2 billion to convert its Cologne plant to build two battery-electric cars based on Volkswagen Group's MEB platform. The EVs will launch this year and next year. Ford has a partnership with VW to produce 1.2 million vehicles on the MEB electric platform over six years.
As part of its EV push, Ford plans a total of seven new electric models in Europe, along with a battery-assembly site in Germany and a nickel cell manufacturing joint venture in Turkey.
Its next-generation EVs sold in Europe, due after 2030, will use a new, software-defined architecture developed in the U.S., which means less work for its engineers in Europe.
Ford warned in June last year of "significant" job cuts to come in the near term at its factory in Valencia, Spain and its plant in Saarlouis, Germany, as the shift to EV production meant it would require fewer labor hours to build cars.
A spokesperson at the automaker's headquarters in Michigan said on Monday that discussions with the German works councils were continuing and that the company needs to be "more competitive" as it transitions to EVs. He would not comment on specific job plans.
Ford teased the look of its first EV based on VW's MEB platform in December. Production will start in Cologne this year.
Workers were told to expect concrete numbers of job losses from the automaker in mid-February, according to Cologne's daily paper, the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.
Industrial action threat
Ford's plans triggered a union threat of Europewide disruption.
"If negotiations between the works council and management in coming weeks do not ensure the future of workers, we will join the process. We will not hold back from measures that could seriously impact the company not just in Germany but Europe-wide," IG Metall said.
Ford of Europe produces, sells and services Ford brand vehicles in 50 markets, employing around 45,000 people at its own facilities and consolidated joint ventures, according to its website.
The latest cuts come three years after Ford's last big jobs cull.
In 2019 Ford announced that it was axing 12,000 jobs in Europe, about 20 percent of the overall workforce, and reducing its manufacturing footprint in the region to 18 facilities from 24.
It ended production at three plants in Russia, closed an engine factory in Bridgend, Wales, and shuttered a transmission plant near Bordeaux, France.
Ford also closed its UK headquarters in Warley, Essex, and consolidated operations in Dunton, where it has a technical center.
Ford ha annunciato tagli per 3.200 unità nello sviluppo e amministrazione in Europa, pari al 25% del totale. D’altronde se tagli metà della gamma e il resto per metà viene dagli USA è inutile avere troppi ingegneri. Ergo non c’è futuro nel vecchio continente per Ford.