Ford axes 3800 jobs in Europe, 1300 of them in the UK

Massive cost-cutting programme has heavy impact on engineering workforce, due to less complex EV drivetrains.

By Felix Page, Autocar UK calendar 14 Feb 2023 Views icon4012 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Ford has announced 3800 job cuts across Europe – primarily in Germany and the UK – as part of a dramatic cost-cutting programme.

Ford of Europe boss Martin Sander announced the cuts today, explaining that the company's local workforce is being downsized in pursuit of a "leaner and more cost-competitive structure".

Ford's European engineering operations are the most dramatically impacted, accounting for 2800 of the axed roles (1700 in Germany, 1000 in the UK and 100 elsewhere in Europe), although Sander emphasised that the company will retain 3400 engineering roles in the region.

The other 1000 affected positions are administration roles, split across Germany (600), the UK (300) and other European countries (100).

Sander said: "Believe me, these are extremely difficult decisions which haven't been taken lightly. We recognise the uncertainty this creates for our team and I can assure all our employees we will be offering our full support in the months ahead."

Ford has not detailed the financial implications of these job cuts.

Sander said the engineering workforce was being downsized chiefly because of the "drastically reduced complexity of powertrains" as the company widens its portfolio of electric passenger and commercial vehicles.

"You will see more agile and more integrated working overall in our engineering team globally," he explained, "and of course there's significantly less work to be done on drivetrains as we move out of combustion engines and into a world with less top hats, less global platforms and – on top of that – less engineering work generally. That's why we have to make the adjustments."

He did, however, explain that Ford will continue to invest in the transformation of its site in Halewood, Merseyside, from a gearbox factory to an EV drive unit factory – an initiative set to cost around £380 million.

Ford's Dunton Technical Centre in Essex is set to be among the facilities most affected by the news.

When asked whether it can continue operating by Autocar, Sander said: "The very simple answer is yes. Dunton is a global centre of competence for our light commercial vehicles globally, supported of course by testing facilities in Germany, and we're absolutely convinced that our Dunton team in the UK will be able to do this job in the future."

Sander emphasised that the job cuts don't have any immediate bearing on Ford's plan to have an entirely electric line-up in Europe by 2035, stating: "We aren't announcing a new strategy. We are aware of our Ford Plus strategy and nothing has changed of our strategy."

The job cuts have been announced not long before Ford will show a long-awaited, Europe-focused electric crossover using Volkswagen's MEB architecture, which is due to enter production in Cologne, Germany, before the end of the year.

A second MEB-based electric car will be launched next year, at which point the popular Ford Puma crossover will receive an electric derivative - to be produced alongside the petrol car in Craiova, Romania.

Sander also spoke of the possibility of Ford bringing another platform to Europe and suggested the company's factory in Valencia, Spain, could be adapted to build cars atop this new architecture. It remains unclear what form this model could take.

"On the one hand," he said, "there are changes in the market which we have to address, but on the other hand of what I've announced today is a very, very exciting plan going forward to building a new Ford company in Europe."

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