After a fiscally damaging year that Ford CEO Jim Hackett implored employees to forget, cuts are coming to the automaker’s workforce, and America won’t be spared. But America can wait, as that region remains a major profit generator. Other regions aren’t, and the automaker’s axe has already fallen in South America.
Now it’s Germany’s turn, with Ford announcing the loss of “more than 5,000” workers in that country.
Ford’s full-year operating profit (before special items) fell 28 percent in 2018, with its European, Chinese, and South American businesses serving as a balance sheet boat anchor. The company’s operations in Europe lost $398 million last year, a complete reversal of the $367 million profit it recorded in 2017.
A major European restructuring plan is already underway, with January bringing news of axed car models, a shuttered French plant, and consolidation of its UK operations. On Friday, Ford raised the spectre of hefty job cuts, and not just for Germany.
The 5,000-plus German cuts are expected to come from “voluntary redundancies and early retirement,” a Ford spokesperson told AFP. “The aim is to cut more than 5,000 jobs in the most socially responsible way possible.”
“This announcement is part of the Ford restructuring announced in January
in Europe with the goal of returning to profitable business in Europe as soon as possible,” the spokesperson continued, without mentioning how those cuts would be distributed. Germany hosts two body and assembly plants (Cologne, Saarlouis), and an R&D center in Aachen. A desirable version of a model Ford no longer offers in America is built in that country.
Of the roughly 53,000 workers Ford employs in Europe, some 24,000 of them are located in Germany. Ford also said more job losses can be expected in the UK, with AFP reporting 1,150 will get pink slips, according to UK union Unite.