Battle for Electrification – Ford Europe Slashes Thousands of Jobs

by David Mowatt

Ford Europe revealed earlier this week that they will be cutting thousands of jobs across the continent as they struggle to push towards electrification amid a slump in demand for diesel vehicles and tougher emission regulations.

Following stricter emission regulations across Europe, Ford has struggled to maintain relevancy in the growing electric vehicle-centric marketplace. In order to combat the rapid decline in demand for gas-powered vehicles, Ford announced a new reconstruction plan that might help pull the automaker out of their current slump, albeit at the cost of thousands of jobs.

Ford Europe currently employs over 53,000 workers, but they have struggled to turn a profit in recent years, reporting a €245 million ($282 million) loss before interest and taxes in the third quarter. As part of their reconstruction plan, Ford intends to combine the headquarters of Ford UK and Ford Credit to a single site in Dunton, Essex, exit unprofitable markets, discontinue loss-making vehicle lines, and review operations in Russia to achieve a 6 percent operating margin in Europe.

In their most recent press release, Steven Armstrong, group vice president and president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, stated:

“We are taking decisive action to transform the Ford business in Europe. We will invest in the vehicles, services, segments and markets that best support a long-term sustainably profitable business, creating value for all our stakeholders and delivering emotive vehicles to our customers.”

At this time, Armstrong has declined to quantify the scale of job cuts, but affirmed that staff reductions would run into the “thousands”.

Ford’s restructuring in Europe sees the automaker adopting an aggressive electrification plan as well, as they intend to produce electric variants for all future models, stating:

“Every Ford nameplate from the all-new Ford Focus onwards will include an electrified option. This includes new nameplates and new versions of existing vehicles. From Fiesta to Transit, either a mild-hybrid, full-hybrid, plug-in hybrid or full battery electric option will be offered, delivering one of the most encompassing line-ups of electrified options for European customers.”

Ford Europe continued their press release by re-announcing their upcoming Mustang-inspired electric vehicle set to debut in April 2019, adding:

“A niche portfolio of imported iconic nameplates for Europe that builds on the heritage of the Ford brand will include Mustang, Edge, and another SUV to be revealed in April, along with an all-new Mustang-inspired full-electric performance utility in 2020.”

While we can commend Ford’s desperate attempt to catch up to the rest of the world’s growing electric vehicle awareness, we can’t help but wonder if their efforts are simply too little, too late. The automaker has taken a massive hit over the years and has lost millions as a result of their unwillingness to adapt, and we don’t suspect the recent announcement to slash jobs across all of Europe will do much to improve their worsening reputation.

Source: Reuters


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