PARIS: US automaker Ford said Tuesday it would cut 3,800 jobs in Europe, mostly in Britain and Germany, as competition in the electric car sector intensifies.
The company said 2,300 positions in product development and administrative functions would be slashed in Germany, 1,300 in Britain and another 200 elsewhere in Europe over the next three years.
“These are difficult decisions, not taken lightly,” said Martin Sander, general manager of Ford Model e in Europe. “We recognise the uncertainty it creates for our team, and I assure them we will be offering them our full support in the months ahead,” Sander said.
The company said the decision was aimed at revitalising its business in Europe and competing profitably with a new line-up of passenger vehicles.
“The company is taking action to restructure its business in Europe, creating a leaner, more competitive cost structure,” Ford said.
The company said it was “responding to rapidly changing market conditions and a growing field of electric vehicle competitors entering the market”.
The job cuts in Germany are lower than the 3,200 layoffs that the IG Metall union had expected in January. The union expressed relief, saying the move “includes cost savings for the company and also safeguards its German sites”.
But a union statement also warned the Ford case “shows that in an era of increasing digitalisation and globalisation, it is not just assembly and production jobs that could be relocated, but also those of highly qualified (workers)”.
British union Unite said the job cuts in Britain were “another stark reminder that the shift to electrification needs a just transition that requires long-term investment and planning from automakers and a proper industrial strategy from government.
“That includes making sure electric vehicle batteries are built in the UK, along with a UK-based supply chain in electronic power drive systems and ensuring the domestic development and manufacture of autonomous driving systems,” said a union statement, the PA news agency reported. Ford said the job reductions would be done through voluntary departures and that it would maintain an engineering organisation of around 3,400 roles in Europe focusing on vehicle design and development.
The US auto giant announced thousands of job cuts in the United States and India last year.
Ford fell into the red last year with a $2-billion loss. Like its rivals, Ford has invested heavily in electric vehicles, unveiling emission-free versions of best-selling autos like the F-series pickup truck.