By on December 13, 2018

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As part of Ford’s massive restructuring plan, which is said to focus primarily on its European assets, the automaker will end assembly at its Blanquefort transmission plant in France next year. Its 850 employees will now have to find gainful employment elsewhere by August.

However, there was a brief glimmer of hope after transmission supplier Punch Powerglide (encouraged by the French government) launched a bid to purchase the facility and rescue it from being shuttered.

“Despite thorough and rigorous talks over the past nine months, and the best efforts of both sides, the plan put forward by the potential buyer presents significant risks,” Ford said in a statement. “We do not believe that the prospective buyer’s plans offer the level of security or protection, or limit the risk of possible future job losses, that we would like for the employees.”  (Read More…)

By on December 7, 2018

Ford Escape Titanium badge logo, Image: Ford Motor Company

Ford Europe announced it had shuffled its leadership on Friday as part of a larger restructuring plan, appointing executives in Germany and the United Kingdom to oversee “Sprint to 6 Reset and Redesign.” The strategy seeks to achieve a 6 percent EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) margin, investing only in products and services that it believes best support long-term, sustainably and profitable business.

“Ford is implementing key leadership and organizational changes to improve the fitness and agility of its European operations as it undergoes a fundamental reset and redesign of its business,” the company said in an announcement that emphasized creating operational agility.

While the full scope of the plan has yet to be announced, layoffs and factory closings seem highly probable. Ford said announcements concerning the details of the restructuring are expected between now and the beginning of 2020. Europe is expected to be the primary focus during the initial months, however. Ford Europe lost nearly $250 million in the third quarter of 2018, significantly worse than it managed in 2017. The company now expects to see a net loss for the region this year.  (Read More…)

By on December 6, 2018

 

Ren Cen. GM

General Motors’ restructuring plan has placed it under heavy fire. As it turns out, domestic job cuts and factory closings aren’t all that popular on Capitol Hill or in middle America, especially when a company appears financially healthy. Go figure.

Hoping to mitigate the social damage that’s only guaranteed to escalate next year, GM CEO Mary Barra took a trip to Washington to speak for the automaker. However, there wasn’t much backpedalling or apology-making coming from the executive. Instead, Barra’s presence served only to show that the company is capable of listening while simultaneously reinforcing that there will be no changes made to the plan.  (Read More…)

By on December 5, 2018

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Earlier this week we mentioned that Ford’s restructuring plan might closely mimic General Motors’ strategy — resulting in widespread job losses. That theory was backed by an analysis from Morgan Stanley, which presumed the Dearborn-based automaker is likely to surpass GM in terms of layoffs, based on how much each intends to free up. Back in July, Ford said it would spend roughly three to five years on its $11 billion restructuring. All told, the financial services company believes the Blue Oval might shed at least 25,000 positions.

In the report’s wake, Ford CEO Jim Hackett is urging everyone not to panic. On Tuesday, he said Ford never provided numbers to Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas, who estimated the significant employee reduction just one day earlier.  (Read More…)

By on December 3, 2018

2017 Ford Focus S sedan - Image: Ford

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.  (Read More…)

By on November 27, 2018

 

Ren Cen. GM

The big news this week is General Motors’ decision to cull its lineup, closing plants and sacking about 15 percent of its North American workforce in the process. According to Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra, GM’s official reasons for doing so are all part of its grand plan to transition to a company focused on electric vehicles and self-driving cars.

While we harbor a vague suspicion that the automaker is actually trying to prepare itself for an incoming economic downturn, leaving itself with plenty of financial wiggle room, GM currently enjoys relatively healthy profits (thank you, truck sales) and a lofty share price. In fact, GM shares rose nearly 5 percent after it announced the shuttering of several plants in the U.S. and Canada, cutting as many as 14,800 jobs.

Unfortunately, GM’s investors seem to be the only group that’s pleased with the decision. Everyone else appears to be absolutely furious.  (Read More…)

By on June 12, 2018

Elon Musk + Tesla Model S Circa 2011

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a restructuring of the ambitious but troubled automaker on Tuesday, laying out a plan that will see 9 percent of the company’s workforce laid off.

Calling the decision “difficult, but necessary,” Musk said the cuts will come almost exclusively from its salaried workforce, leaving production workers in place. The company’s production targets for the Model 3 sedan haven’t changed, he insists. (Read More…)

By on May 14, 2018

Tesla Supercharger

On Monday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told employees the company intends to “flatten” its structure. That translates into fewer management executives as the automaker hires as many line workers as possible. Neither should come as a shock to those paying attention. Tesla Motors has bled high-ranking executives for a while now, and the autonomous assembly system that was supposed to revolutionize production hasn’t appeared yet.

Flattening the company’s management structure may be less about cutting costs and more about having no one to fill empty seats. That said, Musk’s announcement placed an emphasis on improving the company’s finances — echoing statements made during an earlier conference call that created some public relations hiccups. So the restructuring plan could be Tesla performing double duty.

“To ensure that Tesla is well prepared for the future, we have been undertaking a thorough reorganization of our company,” Musk said in his memo to staff. (Read More…)

By on February 19, 2018

General-Motors-Gunsan-South-Korea-Plant-Chevrolet-Cruze-Production-01-720x513

South Korean President Moon Jae-in says General Motors’ decision to shut down its Gunsan plant will negatively impact the region. He’s hoping his administration can work some impressive mojo to boost economic activity in the area, but admitted that GM’s quick exodus could make that tricky. There are also concerns that the automaker may soon decide to close down its remaining three plants within the country, leaving 16,000 South Koreans without employment.

“Especially, the decline in employment [at GM] and subcontractors will be difficult to bear for Gunsan City and North Jeolla province,” Moon said in a statement released by his office.

However, things haven’t been going well for GM in the region. The company said it shuttered the plant after it became increasingly underutilized — running at about 20 percent of its total capacity over the last three years. Meanwhile, GM President Dan Ammann claims Korean labor costs have increased by over than 50 percent since 2010. Worker productivity is also abysmal. It takes roughly three hours longer to build a single car in GM’s Korean facilities than it does in the U.S., and Korean strikes are becoming commonplace. (Read More…)

By on April 10, 2017

Mitsubishi Lancer GT

With Carlos Ghosn out as Nissan’s chief executive, Hiroto Saikawa has some well broken-in shoes to fill as the brand’s new CEO. Only ten days into the job, Saikawa says he doesn’t want to stray too far from groundwork laid by his predecessor. However, both men face an interesting problem in deciding what should be done with Mitsubishi.

Ghosn loves a fixer-upper and has already decided to dedicate much of his time to bringing Mitsubishi back from the brink, now that it’s part of the Renault–Nissan Alliance. He managed to help Nissan out of its decade-long slump in the early 2000s, so perhaps he can do the same for Mitsubishi now. However, according to Saikawa, that’s going to involve carefully assimilating the struggling automaker into the greater alliance.

That could mean taking Mitsubishi by the hand and offering it European models wearing the three-diamond emblem.  (Read More…)

By on March 14, 2017

Mitsubishi banner

Nissan is remaking Mitsubishi Motors in its own image, restructuring it into a more multinational organization with a less traditional Japanese hierarchy. The automotive arm of the tri-diamond keiretsu has already undergone early changes to revamp production and take advantage of its new role within the Franco-Japanese alliance after selling a controlling stake to Nissan in October for $2.29 billion.

Now Nissan is further shuffling the deck in Mitsubishi’s boardroom to better represent a company within the Renault-Nissan partnership. The management changes place more foreigners and a woman in top executive roles, ending the company’s long-standing practice of promoting employees based exclusively on seniority. (Read More…)

By on June 20, 2014

Violet GM RenCen

Though the Valukas report may have reaped 15 employees linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall — including a number of senior executives — one former General Motors employee’s experience suggests doing the same to the lower levels of corporate leadership.

(Read More…)

By on December 21, 2011

 

Ever since Steve Girsky an his “merry band of hatchet men” touched down in Rüsselsheim, Bertel has been warning that GM’s European division was about to embark on a serious cutting binge. But our worst fears, namely that Opel could go away entirely, have yet to be realized. Instead it seems that self-destructive mutilation will be attempted first, in order to stem the gushing red ink at Opel where at least €1b in losses are expected next year. Automotive News Europe [sub] reports that the first round of cuts will hit Opel’s Internationalen Technischen Entwicklungszentrum (ITEZ, “International Technical Development Center), as an IG Metall union document foresees some 1,420 product development position cuts (from a staff of some 6,000).

(Read More…)

By on February 9, 2010

Opel’s Nick Reilly today revealed details of Opel’s long-awaited business plan. Here are the highlights (and low points) as reported by Automobilwoche [sub]. (Read More…)

By on January 7, 2010

Keep digging! (courtesy:Miami.FlyMe/Flickr)

With the world starting to gain stability economically and economists talking about “bull markets” you’d be forgiven for thinking we can start to be optimistic and why not? Ford are flying high, GM (prodded by the government) are adding third shifts and Chrysler’s sales “only” dropped 3.7% in December. Well, don’t be too sure. CNN Money reports that a survey conducted by KPMG of 200 auto and supplier executive showed that 88% of them believe there is still too much capacity in North American plants. In fact, the survey showed that the executives believe that overcapacity is a bigger problem today than a year ago and when you look at the figures, it’s a bit of a no brainer.

(Read More…)

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