Accueil Uncategorized Thousands of Ford jobs lost as car maker engineers shift to electric

Thousands of Ford jobs lost as car maker engineers shift to electric

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Car maker Ford is to slash 1,300 UK workers jobs as it looks to shift production away from petrol and diesel engines to electric vehicles.

The cuts will hit one in five of its 6,500-strong UK workforce and come amid wider plans to scrap around 3,800 jobs at plants across Europe.

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It said the bulk of the UK job losses will affect the company’s technical centre in Dunton in Essex, where it has about 3,400 workers. A “smart tech innovation” centre in Stratford, east London, will also be shut affecting 200 staff.

Previously unissued undated photo of Ford Research and Development centre, Dunton, Essex, as the global carmaker has announced it will be scrapping 3,800 jobs across Europe, including 1,300 in the UK, over the next three years amid plans to reinvent the brand and focus on a smaller range of electric vehicles. PA Photo. Issue date: Tuesday February 14, 2023. Ford said 2,800 engineering roles will be axed by 2025, and around 1,000 jobs in its administrative, marketing, sales and distribution teams across Europe are set to go. See PA story CITY Ford. Photo credit should read: Nicholas.T.Ansell/PA Wire
Ford’s research and development centre, Dunton, Essex, where the bulk of the job cuts will fall (Photo: Nicholas T Ansell/PA)

John Baron, Basildon and Billericay MP, whose constituents work at Dunton expressed “disappointment” at the news. “Whilst I understand Ford are looking to make these cuts via voluntary separation programmes, I know it will be a worrying time for my constituents who are employed at the Dunton site.”

The company insisted its main manufacturing plants at Halewood in Merseyside, Dagenham in Essex, Southampton in Hampshire, and Daventry in Northamptonshire will be unaffected by the shake-up.

 It aims to have an electric only fleet in Europe by 2035 and has already announced plans to stop making popular petrol engine models such as the Fiesta and Focus. It has already stopped making its popular fleet car, the Mondeo.

Most of the job losses will be at Ford’s German operations in Cologne and Aachen, where 2,300 jobs will be cut, Ford said. Ford currently employs 34,000 people across Europe.

Workers look at a model of an e-power unit assembly during a press event at the Ford Halewood transmissions plant in Liverpool, Britain, December 1, 2022. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Ford says plants including the one at Halewood, Merseyside, will be unaffected by the shake-up (Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters)

Martin Sander, general manager of Ford in Europe, said: “These are difficult decisions, not taken lightly. We recognise the uncertainty it creates for our team, and I assure them we will be offering them our full support in the months ahead.

“We will engage in consultations with our social partners so we can move forward together on building a thriving future for our business in Europe.

Experts say the latest job losses are unlikely to be the last. It has already announced cuts at plants in the US, Canada and India and the company has said publicly it needed 40 per cent fewer staff to build EVs.

More than 22,000 jobs in the UK’s car industry are at risk as car firms pivot away from making engines and traditional car parts and towards batteries and other components for EV’s the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the UK automotive trade body has warned.

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The Ford cuts come as it invests $50bn (£41bn) in developing a smaller range of new electric vehicles. Ford says it will spend £380m to restructure a plant making gearboxes at Halewood on Merseyside into one producing electric motors. It has also announced plans to retool its Cologne plant to begin producing EVs using rival Volkswagen’s EV technology later this year.

Ford says Europe’s car market is highly competitive and there are growing numbers of electric car rivals entering the market. It has designed its new generation of EV’s to be simpler, less engineered vehicles and needs to release the staff to enable it to invest the savings in redeveloping its range of vehicles and manufacturing plants.

Mr Sander said: “We are completely reinventing the Ford brand in Europe – unapologetically American, outstanding design and connected services that will differentiate Ford and delight our customers in Europe. We are ready to compete and win in Europe,” he added.

Last year, Ford said it will end production of vehicles at its plant in Saarlouis, Germany, in 2025, where it employs more than 4,500 people. It said it is in negotiations to sell the plant. Chinese EV maker BYD has reportedly expressed an interest in buying it.

Ford also announced it would build a $3.5bn battery plant in Michigan, enabling it to take advantage of more US government tax credits for electric vehicles. Ford said the plant will build batteries using technology supplied by the Chinese battery firm CATL, the world’s largest battery manufacturer which also supplies batteries to Tesla.

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