A report, citing unnamed sources, has claimed Ford is planning to eliminate up to 8,000 jobs in North America to free up capital for its ongoing transition to all-electric vehicles. Cuts are expected to begin later this summer and will allegedly target salaried employees working within the “Ford Blue” unit the automaker created to specialize in gasoline-driven vehicles.
This follows earlier statements made by CEO Jim Farley, who warned in February that the company had too many people on its payroll and specifically lacked the expertise required to reposition itself as an automaker specializing in EVs. Though this isn’t really unique to the Blue Oval, as the entire industry knew that manufacturing electric cars would require far less manpower.
Unvaccinated workers from General Motors’ CAMI Assembly Plant have been removed from the facility and forced into unpaid leave. The automaker had a deadline set for December 12th to have all employees vaccinated, with Unifor previously having urged the company to postpone the date. The Western world has seen a surge of citizens protesting vaccine mandates this year, with Canadian unions conducting more than a few of their own. Though several organizers have said they’re operating independently due to a shared belief that Unifor was offering insufficient support to members and was effectively siding with automakers.
Jeep is laying off 150 workers that would have otherwise been employed at its Belvidere Assembly Plant, which actually produces the Jeep Cherokee instead of the long defunct, full-size Plymouth. Based on the timing, this decision appears to have something to do with the FCA-PSA Group merger that formed Stellantis.
Barely a full day after news broke that Ford was on the cusp of announcing layoffs, Ford announced those layoffs. On Wednesday, the automaker informed employees that it needs to eliminate 1,400 salaried jobs as part of its $11-billion restructuring program. The good news is that these cuts will be handled through retirement buyouts that won’t leave the departing workforce empty handed. The automaker’s internal memo also stated that the buyouts would be voluntary.
The Blue Oval previously said it expects a full-year loss in 2020 thanks to the pandemic, with a pre-tax profit of anywhere between $500 million and $1.5 billion in the third quarter.
With a large number of automakers pinching pennies these days, it’s easy for the details of various restructuring plans to fall down the memory hole. For example, Ford has been engaged in an ambitious cost-cutting program since 2018. The $11-billion plan was said to take anywhere from three to five years to complete, requiring legitimate sacrifices at the company — including the discontinuation of all sedans in the United States, ending operations in Russia, closing facilities in Europe, and rolling layoffs around the globe.
Ford has actually accelerated its timeline to see how much it can get done before 2021, resulting in the elimination of 7,000 salaried positions globally last year. The company has decided to end another 1,000 salaried positions in the United States.
Cox Automotive eliminated around 1,600 jobs this month as it prepared to better embrace online commerce (and nobody having any money). The company axed nearly 300 employees in June after having furloughed over 12,000 people in response to the coronavirus pandemic this spring. A large number of those positions were related to its Manheim auction arm, which suffered the hardest due to stringent lockdown protocols that prohibited public gatherings.
Now it’s talking about improving some of the digital features it added to Autotrader this year and embracing the virtual landscape to future-proof itself while forecasting a 25-percent cut in annual profits, and letting people go — with the majority of the layoffs coming to furloughed Manheim employees.
Bentley Motors plans to quash roughly a quarter of its workforce. Not long ago, following a profitable 2019, CEO Adrian Hallmark said that the brand was on track to have a stellar 2020.
Alas, it was not to be.
The coronavirus lockdowns left Bentley losing £88 million ($111 million USD) for each month of lost production and sales, throwing the whole year out of whack. Much like the mucus man writing the sentence you’re reading now, it would seem high-end British nameplates (despite Bentley ownership by Volkswagen Group) aren’t in the best health. Aston Martin recently announced the cutting of 500 positions, while McLaren had to axe 1,200 jobs in May.
Cruise, the self-driving arm of General Motors, is cutting roughly 8 percent its full-time staff as coronavirus lockdowns mar the economy and companies walk back development programs. You might have noticed the hype surrounding autonomous cars started dying down even before 2020 became the most miserable year in recent memory.
That made them prime candidates for cost-saving cuts. Health concerns have likewise made autonomous concepts like “robotaxis,” where occupants are confined together in small, self-driving shuttles, far less appetizing. Cruise actually showed off a six-passenger AV it developed and built back in January. Interested in paying to ride face to face with complete strangers?
We didn’t think so.
With environmentalism sweeping through the automotive industry of late, manufacturers are spending oodles of cash to fund the continued development of electric vehicles. Unfortunately, the are doing this during a period where the developed world’s taste for cars has already reached its zenith — or so it seems. Growth is slowing in markets across the globe and cuts have to be made somewhere if the industry players want to keep their bottom line positioned firmly in the black.
A recent report from Bloomberg, estimated that around 80,000 auto jobs will be eliminated in the coming years as a result of electrification — with the majority concentrated in the United States, Germany, and United Kingdom. Though the onslaught of cuts will not be limited to the developed world, nor entirely the fault of EVs.
The first strike action by unionized General Motors workers since before the recession has entered its fifth day, with bargaining teams from both sides claiming progress on a number of issues. That said, reaching a tentative deal reached before the weekend is a long shot.
With American GM plants free of workers, the shutdown of the automaker’s manufacturing landscape has sent shock waves across the border and into Canada, where many workers are now “enjoying” a unexpected late-summer vacation.
Plenty of workers at General Motors’ Oshawa, Ontario assembly plant soon won’t have much to do, as the UAW’s strike against GM impacts pickup production in Canada. The facility, due to stop producing vehicles by the end of the year, will temporarily lay off over a thousand workers, the automaker’s Canadian arm announced Wednesday. That’s more than half the plant’s workforce.
Elsewhere in the province of Ontario, the strike has stemmed the flow of components and could soon lead to other layoffs. Unifor, the union representing Detroit Three auto workers in the country, added its voice to the fray this week, hinting that next year’s Canadian bargaining talks could end with the same outcome.
Nio, one of China’s biggest EV startups, is confronting difficult times, though the primary reasons for its plight are less than obvious. Automotive startups have a low survival rate, but Nio was presumed to be the next big thing in vehicular electrification. It looked poised to become one of the few EV companies that would survive in Asia, likely serving as China’s response to Tesla, and even had a successful Formula E racing team to showcase its engineering might.
We sad had because Nio sold that team this year. It also needed to recall 4,800 vehicles after reports of three catching fire, endured a sizable sales drop, witnessed its share price plummet, announced plans to layoff 10 percent of its workforce, and just lost one of its co-founders.
On Wednesday, we reported Nissan was preparing a financial report that was presumed to involve quarterly profit falling by around 90 percent — necessitating roughly 10,000 job cuts. At the time, Nissan gave some vague confirmation that the estimates were accurate while halfheartedly attempting to refute them.
However, when the official numbers came out on Thursday, the reality was worse than initially assumed. Nissan reported an almost 99-percent drop in operating profit in the latest quarter, citing falling sales in every major market except China. Rather than 10,000 job cuts, it’ll require 12,500.