BERLIN (Reuters) – Ford plans to cut 3,800 product development and administration employees in Europe over the next three years, the company said on Tuesday, citing rising costs and the need for a more compact structure as it shifts production to electric vehicles.
About 2,300 jobs will be laid off at the automaker’s Cologne and Aachen facilities in Germany, 1,300 in the UK and 200 in the rest of Europe, the company said, adding that it intends to achieve the cuts through voluntary layoff programs.
The news came as a blow to the unions, who said at the end of January that the worst-case scenario was the loss of 2,500 jobs in Europe.
The American automaker will retain about 3,400 engineers in the region who will build on core technologies provided by their US counterparts and adapt them for European customers, European Passenger Electric Vehicle (EV) head and Ford Germany head Martin Sander said during a press conference.
“There is significantly less work to be done with the transmission coming out of internal combustion engines. We are moving into a world with less global platforms where less engineering work is required. That’s why we have to make adjustments,” Sander said.
Sander said nothing has changed in the automaker’s electrification strategy, and the goal of offering an all-electric vehicle fleet in Europe by 2035 still exists.
Ford is due to launch its first electric vehicle in Europe, built on the Volkswagen MEB platform in Cologne later this year, and is considering bringing the Ford platform to Europe, possibly at its plant in Valencia, Sander said.
“We are preparing our organization to compete and win in a region facing unprecedented economic and geopolitical challenges,” he said.
(Reporting by Victoria Waldersee, edited by Miranda Murray, Kirsten Donovan)