Ford Cutting Over 1,000 Jobs in Germany as Company Pivots to EVs

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Ford is reportedly preparing to lay off a minimum of 1,000 German employees as it prepares to manufacture two battery-electric models developed under Volkswagen’s MEB platform. The partnership is old news, as is Ford wanting to pivot toward all-electric vehicles. However, everyone seems surprised that the decision would be accompanied by job cuts – despite countless reports having predicted that the global push toward EVs would mean far-fewer automotive jobs in the years to come.

The premise was a major aspect of the Trump administration's decision to soften Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which were later undone by an executive order from Joe Biden and countless lawsuits coming out of California. But it was also echoed by numerous automakers who suggested that electrifying their lineup would be a good way to reduce labor costs and streamline production. Though the companies doing so typically maintain that they’ll eventually be supplanted by higher-paying positions requiring more technical expertise. This is also the assumption that the Biden administration is operating under and part of the rationale behind the government’s heavy subsidization of the industry.

Still, everyone certainly acts surprised whenever there’s another round of layoffs.

Based on reporting from the Automotive News Europe sister publication Automobilwoche, Ford’s factory in Cologne, Germany, is about to see its workforce shrink by a “four-digit number.” That means at least 1,000 people.

The facility is currently home to the Fiesta subcompact economy car that used to be sold here in the United States before the Blue Oval decided it would be more profitable to sell large vehicles with broader margins. Moving forward, the facility will be used to produce a pair of battery-electric models utilizing Volkswagen’s MEB architecture. However, nobody seems to have expected that this would be accompanied by sweeping layoffs.

According to the report, Ford will be removing staff from just about every sector of the business – as Cologne also serves as the brand’s regional headquarters. Layoffs are alleged to reach people working in assembly, engine and transmission manufacturing, and also in development, administration, and even sales. German media has suggested that the biggest hit will take place at Ford's technical center in Merkenich – which is near Cologne.

Ford declined to comment on the matter but said the transformation to EVs required "significant change" in the way it manufactures automobiles. "We have no comment on the current speculation about a possible restructuring at Ford in Europe," a spokesperson explained.

A final tally for projected job losses is expected this spring. Though it’s likely to be accompanied by subsequent layoffs throughout Europe as the company shifts toward “software-defined vehicles” using all-electric propulsion.

Ford's passenger lineup in Europe is supposed to become all-electric by 2030 and the automaker expects two-thirds of commercial van sales to be electric or plug-in hybrids within the same time frame.

[Image: Iryna Imago/Shutterstock]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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4 of 15 comments
  • EBFlex EBFlex on Jan 24, 2023

    Nothing says progress like putting thousands of people on the unemployment rolls

    • See 1 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Jan 24, 2023

      "Nothing says progress like putting thousands of people on the unemployment rolls"

      Automation has rendered millions unemployed since the industrial revolution.

  • MachoMansSoftSide MachoMansSoftSide on Jan 24, 2023

    All those Congo-kid-supplied jalopies with no one left able to afford them in Europe.

  • ToolGuy Torque to Pork Ratio™ (torquelages/curb weight) ain't looking amazing.
  • FreedMike I had no idea the 500X was even being sold here anymore.
  • FreedMike The company logo needs to be bigger on the tailgate - it can't be deciphered easily from Pluto.
  • ToolGuy On a not-long drive last night to the next county over, my spouse grilled me about Rivian and Rivian products. So congratulations, Rivian, you are officially on the Non-Enthusiast Radar.
  • Cprescott My 2016 Hyundai that I bought in January 2019 cost $13k and takes less than 10 minutes to fuel and gets over 500 miles to a tank - lifetime average MPG of 45. Golf carts make no sense at all.