Ford Motor Set to Layoff Workers as Cost Cutting Measures Continue Despite Massive Government Loan
Ford has been taking various measures to cut costs, streamline its business operations, and invest in electric and self-driving vehicles. However, the pandemic has caused a major blow to the auto industry and Ford has to take additional steps to prepare for the future. Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that the company is preparing for a new round of layoffs for its salaried workers in the United States. In this blog post, we will dive deeper into this news and explore the reasons behind the move.
Ford Motor has recently secured the biggest loan ever awarded to a company by the Department of Energy’s Loan Program Office, amounting to $9.2 billion. The funds will be invested in building three new electric vehicle battery factories as Ford seeks to expand its domestic production capacity. This is also the largest loan given since the US auto bailout triggered by the global financial crisis over a decade ago. According to Bloomberg, Ford’s new plans entail collaborating with SK Innovation to build the factories, with one located in West Tennessee next to an assembly plant, and the remaining two located at the BlueOvalSK Battery Park in Central Kentucky. With this new project, Ford expects to generate a whopping 129 GWh of battery cells annually, an improvement that should support its planned electric vehicle production ramp-up.
It is important to note that Ford had announced plans to reduce structural costs of up to $3 billion at its gas-powered vehicle unit in March 2019. This was a part of its effort to pivot towards newer and greener technology. However, it seems that this cost cutting measure could not meet the sudden change in consumer demand caused by the pandemic. As a result, in August 2019, the company announced that it would cut a total of 3000 salaried and contract jobs, mostly in North America and India.
The current round of layoffs is expected to affect employees at the Detroit automaker’s gas, electric-vehicle, and software divisions. However, the company has not yet revealed the number of cuts it will make. It’s no surprise that these layoffs are a part of Ford’s larger efforts to optimize its workforce, save costs, and invest in technology that will better serve the company’s future goals and the needs of customers.
Many experts believe that the pandemic has accelerated the already fast pace of structural changes in the auto industry. Automakers are facing challenges from adapting to new regulatory norms, shifting consumer preferences, and competition from tech giants offering electric and autonomous vehicles. In this context, Ford’s decision to layoff workers seems like a natural consequence of the need to streamline operations, adjust to new dynamics, and prepare for the future.
Another reason behind Ford’s cost cutting measures is the pressure it is facing from shareholders. As a publicly traded company, it is answerable to its shareholders. The company has to demonstrate its commitment to running its operations efficiently, creating value for its stakeholders, and delivering sustainable returns in the future. Cost cutting measures, though tough, are seen as a way to achieve these goals.
As Ford prepares for another round of layoffs for its salaried workers, many insiders and outsiders are worried about the immediate consequences of this strategy. Job losses are never easy to swallow, especially during a pandemic when unemployment is high. However, it is important to look at this decision in the context of Ford’s broader strategy to pivot towards a sustainable, tech-driven future. While this transition may be painful in the short term, it is necessary for Ford to stay competitive and relevant in the long run. We will closely monitor any new developments on this topic and keep you updated.