London, 15 February 2023 (TDI): Ford has stated that it will be laying off 1,300 employees in the United Kingdom (UK) over the next two years, or about a fifth of its entire employment there.
It is a component of a significant restructuring plan that will see the automaker eliminate 3,800 positions total in Europe.
Ford is reducing its development workforce as it prepares for the switch to electric vehicles and grapples with an uncertain economic future. At its research facility in Dunton, Essex, the majority of the UK cuts will occur.
At locations across the nation, several hundred back-office positions are also anticipated to be closed. However, the Halewood, Dagenham, and Daventry production sites won’t be impacted.
According to the Unite union, Ford and the union would collaborate to protect “as many jobs as feasible.” The Dunton site is located in the Basildon and Billericay constituency of Conservative MP John Baron, who described the news as “disappointing.”
Mel Stride, the Secretary for Work and Pensions, asserted that it was not “only a UK phenomenon.” He claimed to be developing a “quick response service” that will be implemented “very shortly” to aid laid-off workers in finding new employment.
Less than two years have passed since Ford closed its engine facility in Bridgend. Tim Slatter, Chairman of Ford of Britain, said, “Here in Europe, we’ve got a really terrible economic situation, and the outlook is uncertain.
“High-interest rates, inflationary pressures, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, oil prices, etc.” He stressed, however, that this was not the sole aspect. Ford of Europe is getting ready to undergo a significant business shift.
It anticipates that by 2030, every vehicle it manufactures in the area will be entirely electric. By the same date, two out of every three commercial vehicles will be electric or plug-in hybrids. “In Europe, we are essentially redesigning the Ford brand.
Unapologetically American, exceptional design, and connected services that will set Ford apart and excite our European customers,” said Martin Sander, President of Ford’s European electric car division.
The head of Ford Europe called the business “unapologetically American” today. The US President could have used that word to describe economic policies that openly aim to entice as much manufacturing to the US as possible, which has alarmed Europe.
A US law known as the Inflation Reduction Act will offer $370 billion in subsidies to businesses that establish new, environmentally friendly production and supply networks in the country.
The UK believed that state aid was restricted by EU membership, but the EU is considering providing national governments more freedom to finance their own industries in response.
Despite government Ministers’ claims to the contrary, the UK is commonly believed to be lagging behind the US and the EU in terms of battery production, with only one factory currently in operation.
The world’s car manufacturing map is currently being updated, and the UK must move quickly if it wants to be included.
The Unite union said that “clear strategies” were required to reform the UK’s automotive industry, maintain “high quality” jobs there, and modernize the nation’s transportation system.
According to Unite National Officer, Des Quinn, Ford’s announcement is yet another clear reminder that the transition to electrification needs to be fair and requires long-term funding and strategy from the auto industry as well as an appropriate industrial policy from the government.
Ford will also make an effort to shed its reputation as a supplier of relatively inexpensive, mass-market transportation.
Instead, it aims to create a smaller selection of far more exotic vehicles that make use of expressive brand names, as it has done with the Mustang Mach-E and the electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck.
Additionally, it wants to draw attention to its lineup of commercial cars, particularly the Transit. The Mondeo has already stopped being produced. The last Fiesta will leave the Cologne assembly line in June.
There won’t be a straight replacement for the formerly best-selling runabout since production of it is no longer deemed practical. The Fiesta name is anticipated to be lost to time.
However, creating new electric vehicles is a costly process, and there have been setbacks. Following the discovery of a potential battery problem, Ford announced on Tuesday that it has temporarily halted production and shipments for the F-150.
When manufacturing would resume was not specified. Ford has stated that it will spend about $50 billion (£41 billion) on the development of electric vehicles over the coming years.
As part of this plan, it has committed £380 million to convert Halewood’s gearbox factory into a facility that can produce hundreds of thousands of electric motors annually.
Ford predicts that as traditional gasoline and diesel vehicle development slows, it will need fewer product development personnel since, although requiring complex software, electric cars are mechanically quite basic.
Therefore, it believes that it can save money in this area. 2,800 engineering positions will be eliminated altogether across Europe, with the majority of them in the UK and Germany.
Martin Sander from Ford said, “These are challenging decisions, not taken lightly. We understand the uncertainty it causes for our team, but I can guarantee that we will provide them with all of our support in the next months.