Ford Running Out of Focus Sedans; What About Jobs?

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
ford running out of focus sedans what about jobs

Ford’s decision to abandon sedans and non-utility hatchbacks is quickly coming to a head. While the choice rubbed many of us the wrong way, we attempted to view the situation through the lens of business and urged everyone not to panic if they wanted to purchase a Fusion or Focus sedan before they were all gone.

While we’re still not going to tell you not to panic, you might want to start making some moves if you’re still interested. Michael Martinez, Automotive News’ go-to guy for all things Ford, just claimed that the automaker only has about 12,000 Focus sedans left in its inventory.

Citing Mark LaNeve, vice president of Ford’s U.S. marketing, sales and service, as his source, Martinez claimed prospective customers might want to “get em’ while can.”

Meanwhile, Ford recently announced plans to tweak production at several of its domestic plants in a bid to lower costs and prioritize SUV assembly. Unlike GM, Ford says it should be able to manage that without having to eliminate any jobs. Basically, any shift Ford ends is supposed to result in staff getting work at a nearby facility. For example, Ford claims it should be able to increase production of its profitable Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs by 20 percent at Kentucky Truck after it reallocates staff from the Louisville Assembly Plant.

However, Ford’s long-term restructuring plan may still result in widespread layoffs. Things have been going rather poorly in Europe and most analysts agree that the automaker will likely cut jobs there before it even considers squashing its U.S. workforce. But the company is looking to save itself $11 billion, meaning it’s unlikely America will emerge unscathed.

Ford has already confessed its salaried workers should be ready to confront unspecified job losses by the middle of 2019. Still, the automaker aims to try and keep the brunt of that restructuring outside of North America. As for the scope, corporate spokesman Karen Hampton said “publishing a job-reduction figure at this point would be pure speculation.”

The automaker currently has 70,000 salaried employees and, while we’re also guessing, we’d expect that number to come down a bit by the end of next year. General Motors aims to shed up to 14,000 workers in North America and mothball five plants to focus on more profitable models and free up cash for electrification and mobility services. We cannot presume Ford will match those figures, even though the automaker’s proposed strategy mirrors GM’s strategy — emphasizing tech while culling less-profitable models.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley allege Ford’s restructuring will likely prove “more extensive” than GM’s. In a Monday note to investors, the team compared Ford’s planned expenses to General Motors’, while incorporating latter’s planned restructuring. “Extrapolated to Ford’s planned expenditure, this could imply 20 plants and up to [50,000] employees,” the team said. “Our estimate of Ford’s restructuring plan involves as many as [25,000] headcount reductions globally.”

The firm said layoffs likely won’t be limited to American automakers. “There are bigger forces at work driving global OEMs to rethink the fundamental idea of supporting increasingly obsolete segments, propulsion systems, and geographic regions,” Morgan Stanley said.

Assuredly. But weren’t we all being promised that new tech and electrification would open the door for a slew of new, high-paying jobs? When are those supposed to show up?

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

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  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Dec 04, 2018

    I'd be curious to know recent the ATP of the Focus/Fusion in the fire sale.

    • Scoutdude Scoutdude on Dec 04, 2018

      Well the Fusion isn't dead you can buy new 2019s while the Focus assembly stopped back in March. So all Foci are "last year's model" while the Fusion will be a mix of 18's and 19's.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Dec 05, 2018

    They cannot run out of Focuses or Foci fast enough. Having driven a number of them with their horrible automatics, small windows, and seats made out of recycled soda bottles they cannot go away fast enough. Maybe the sportier versions are better but Ford wanted top dollar for those and for the most part they are crap boxes. Fusion is different, much better.

    • Scoutdude Scoutdude on Dec 05, 2018

      I just saw something that said Fusion sales were up in Nov.

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