Well, we knew this was coming, but not the exact magnitude it would entail. Following a scheduled discussion today, Ford of Europe has announced the elimination of 3,800 jobs – mostly in Germany and the UK – as it restructures its business overseas to support EV development. The leaning down also includes a complete rebranding of Ford in Europe to convey as much, to the point of being “unapologetically American.”
The elimination of thousands of jobs in Europe has been an unfortunate event Ford has been alluding toward in recent months, as the American automaker looks to fully-embrace bolstered electric vehicle production around the globe.
This past December, we reported that Ford Motor Company intended to instill American values as an EV-centric brand that stands for “freedom, the outdoors, and adventure.” This rebranding overseas is part of a larger production pivot to lean down and hone in on EV models, promoting crossovers and SUVs instead of long running compacts like the Ford Fiesta and Focus – both of which received expiries.
This is similar to Ford’s strategy here in the US, when the automaker announced last summer that it cutting 8,000 US jobs, mostly positions assembling combustion vehicles. Following a meeting in Cologne, Germany in late January, it became clear that Ford’s new EV strategy in Europe would somewhat mirror its actions in the US, and a slew of jobs were on the chopping block.
At the time, local media was reporting an expected 2,500 to 4,000 Ford product development jobs out of the 6,250 currently employed could be eliminated. Employees were told the decision and the scope of the job cuts would not be made final until February. Here we are.
Germany and UK receive biggest blow in Ford’s job cuts
Following today’s scheduled meeting to discuss job security (or lack thereof), Ford of Europe outlined the steps it’s now taking to “revitalize” its business in Europe. In fact, General manager for Ford Model e in Europe Martin Sander shared some bold words:
We are completely reinventing the Ford brand in Europe. Unapologetically American, outstanding design and connected services that will differentiate Ford and delight our customers in Europe. We are ready to compete and win in Europe. Our first European-built electric passenger vehicle is being introduced this spring and will surely turn heads.
Ford is also going unapologetically electric in Europe at the cost of 3,800 jobs, in order to create a “leaner, more competitive cost structure.” The resizing of its staff overseas will take place between now and 2025 and includes the largest job cuts to engineering, followed by other positions like administration, marketing, sales, and distribution. Here’s how it all breaks down per Ford.
As predicted, Ford’s jobs in Germany will take the biggest hit, followed by the UK which equates to about one in five positions being cut. The rest of Europe is relatively safe by comparison. Even after the cuts, Ford explains it will still retain about 3,400 engineering jobs in Europe that will reserve a new focus on EV development and creation of connected services. Sander once again spoke:
These are difficult decisions, not taken lightly. We recognize the uncertainty it creates for our team, and I assure them we will be offering them our full support in the months ahead. We will engage in consultations with our social partners so we can move forward together on building a thriving future for our business in Europe.
Ford of Europe states that today’s restructuring announcement will not affect its current timeline of delivering an all-electric fleet of passenger vehicles and light commercial vans overseas by 2035.