QOTD: Is Ford CEO Jim Farley Right?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Today is one of those days in which I pose a QOTD based on an earlier news story -- as if you all aren't already arguing in the comments.

This one is a two-parter -- is Jim Farley right? And if so, what can be done to keep job losses to a minimum?

The answer to part one seems obvious since EVs do require fewer parts to assemble. But who knows -- maybe something unforeseen happens?

The second part is trickier, and if I had a good answer I'd be making bank as a consultant, and instead of testing cars I can't afford I'd be buying them. Ahem. Anyway, I do feel for those who might lose their jobs due to broad technological shifts, but I also want to see climate change halted and though EVs aren't perfect (their production still pollutes, as does the mining of the materials needed to build them), they have an advantage over internal-combustion vehicles when it comes to emissions. So, naturally, my empathetic side hopes that Ford and other OEMs can find roles for these workers. Perhaps working with suppliers.

Indeed, if you'll indulge a bit of politics for a second, I think certain Democratic politicians hurt their chances at winning election a few years back by appearing to be unsympathetic to coal miners who'd lose their jobs during a transition to clean energy. There's a way to talk up clean energy without being cold to workers who lose their income -- which is also a source of pride. Farley seems to grasp that, as noted in my earlier piece.

But, i digress. If you have big ideas on how the estimated 40 percent of Ford laborers that might lose their jobs can be "rehomed" within Ford, let us know.

Or don't -- maybe you'll save your best idea, become a consultant, and buy that Eurovan from this morning.

[Image: Ford]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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2 of 48 comments
  • Kevin Kevin on Nov 25, 2022

    Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?

  • Tassos Tassos on Nov 26, 2022

    OK. I have no dog in this fight, and will not bother to say if Farley is right or wrong, but will post a more general truth about such changes and the resulting job 'losses' and 'gains', not only in the auto field, but in any business which advances and evolves.

    I am sure when gas cars replaced horses and buggies, entire sections of the labor force felt threatened, and indeed many lost their jobs, whip and saddle and buggy makers, among others, off the top of my head. BUT when you look at the labor statistics, the US unemployment rate did NOT go up long term.

    Typically, when jobs are lost because of a different technology taking over, they are more than replaced, usually with better, better paying ones.

    This is not a law of MAth that is 100% true of course, it is possible that in the future, Advances in AI may render millions of jobs obsolete. These are NOT good jobs, not creative ones, but ones that even a stupid computer can do as well or better. Humans are BETTER OFF having the stupid computer do them, AND having much more free time for themselves, as the work week (there is nothing DIVINE about the "40 hours" standard, it has come down sharply since the early days of the Industrial revolution, and should come down again, given that it has been stuck at 40 forever. I WELCOME this.

    So yeah, of course, an electric appliance is simpler and more reliable than one powered with a complex gas or diesel engine and all their peripheral components and needs that can frequently go wrong. SO there COULD be serious numbers of jobs lost, IF people buy these BEVs in large numbers (and not only the AFFLUENT. Let's admit it, current BEV prices are RIDICULOUSLY HIGH, even after the mass-market Model 3 entered the market). I will NOT pay $60k for a damned Hyundai BEV. $60k should get me a FULLY OPTIONED E class kind of vehicle. OR has the US dollar become worthless, so people pay ... $50k for a sporty COrolla (as I saw in the last issue of Motor TRend) or a Hyundai-Kia?

  • Lorenzo Subaru had the ideal wagon - in 1995. The Legacy Outback was a straight two-box design with rear quarter and back windows you could see out of, and was available in brown with a 5-speed manual, as God and TTAC commenters intended. It's nice they're not raising prices, but when you've lost the plot, does it matter?
  • Bkojote Remember a month a go when Cleveland wanted to create a more walkable Cleveland and TTAC's 'BIG GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM' dumbest and dullest all collectively crapped their diapers? Here's the thing- look on any American highway and it's littered with people who don't /want/ to be driving or shouldn't be. Look at every Becky on her phone during the morning commute in her Tucson, look at every Brad aggro driving his 84 month loan GMC. Hell look how many drivers nowadays can't even operate a headlight switch. You expect these people to understand a stoplight? In my neighborhood alone 4 people have been rear ended at lights from someone on their phone. Distracted driving over the past 10 years has spiked, and it's only going to get worse unless Becky has an alternative, because no judge is going to pull her license when 'she needs it to get to work!' but heaven forbid she not check fb/tiktok for 40 minutes a day.
  • Scott Shouldn't the The Italian Minister for Business be criticizing The Milano for being too ugly to be Italian?Better use of resources doing that....
  • Steve Biro Frankly, while I can do without Eyesight and automatic start-stop, there is generally less B-S with Subarus in terms of design, utility and off-road chops than with many other brands. I just hope that when they adopt Toyota’s hybrid system, they’ll also use Toyota’s eCVT.
  • The Oracle These are all over the roads in droves here in WNC. Rarely see one on the side of the road, they are wildly popular, capable, and reliable. There is a market for utilitarian vehicles.