BERLIN--Ford plans to cut one in nine jobs in Europe, axing 3,800 roles in product development and administration as part of a drive to lower costs in the region and concentrate engineering know-how in the United States, the automaker said on Tuesday.
The U.S. carmaker leads the European market for commercial vans, but has struggled to make strong profits from passenger cars, and warned this month it would be "very aggressive" in reducing manufacturing and supply chain expenses this year. CEO Jim Farley has repeatedly flagged that electric vehicle (EV) production would require less labour and significant cost cutting to remain competitive.
"There is significantly less work to be done on drivetrains moving out of combustion engines. We are moving into a world with less global platforms where less engineering work is necessary. This is why we have to make the adjustments," European passenger EV chief Martin Sander said on Tuesday.
Around 2,300 jobs will go at Ford's Cologne and Aachen sites in Germany, 1,300 in the UK and 200 in the rest of Europe, the company said, adding it intended to achieve the reductions through voluntary programmes. The news comes as a blow to unions who said in late January the worst-case scenario was 2,500 job cuts in Europe in product development and a further 700 in administration.
Still, the carmaker agreed to no compulsory redundancies at its Cologne or Aachen sites before the end of 2032, providing some relief to workers, works council chair Benjamin Gruschka said on a press call. "Workers know that the reduced model palette in coming years means fewer jobs. The exclusion of operational redundancies provides safety - we are not kicking anyone out," Gruschka said.
Ford, which saw 516,614 new passenger cars registered in Europe last year - a market share of 4.6%, according to European autos association ACEA - is planning an ambitious ramp up of EV sales in Europe, targeting over 600,000 by 2026. So far, it sells two all-electric SUVs in the region and an e-Transit van, but seven new models are in the pipeline by 2024, according to plans announced last March, including two produced in Cologne and one in Romania.