Ford Australia has announced approximately 400 redundancies in its vehicle development and design departments, equal to more than 20 per cent of its remaining workforce in these areas.
We understand today’s announcement includes about 320 salaried jobs and 45 hourly employees. The workers are mostly in Ford’s product development and design teams based in Melbourne and at the You Yangs proving ground near Geelong, plus “a small number in other functions”.
The decision comes about two months after the company made an additional 170 staff in these areas redundant, on April 27.
April’s cuts were due to attrition related to the end of the Ranger and Everest development cycle, whereas today’s round has been attributed to internal cost-cutting, or “Ford’s global drive to improve efficiency”.
Despite the repeated moves to downsize its staff roster, Ford says Australia remains the company’s global hub for design and development of the global Ranger ute and Everest SUV – both of which recently entered new generations and which have typically long life cycles.
People connected to the matter have told CarExpert many of the jobs will be outsourced to India.
“We have begun consultation with our employees and unions on our intention to offer a separation program for approximately 400 of our 1800 employees in Australia,” Ford Australia told us in a statement when asked.
“The majority of these will be in product development and design, with a small number in other functions. The changes are part of Ford’s global drive to improve efficiency and transform its operations to meet future needs.
“Australia will continue to be the centre of development for the Ranger and Everest globally.”
Today’s announcement (and April’s) follow more cuts in August 2022 to Ford Australia’s workforce, focused at that time on around 120 contract staff – again due to the end of the pre-launch Ranger and Everest development cycle.
However late in 2022, Ford said it would continue to contribute “extensively” to global programs going forward. The brand invested $12 million in an expanded Melbourne design studio, which opened in 2021, and has previously claimed it invests around $500 million each year into its operations.
At the February 2021 announcement of Ford’s revamped Melbourne design studio, the company claimed to have more than 2500 engineers, designers, technical and automotive specialists
Ford Australia designers and engineers have also worked on various products for China, India and South America which have never been sold here, including the Escort and the previous-generation Taurus for the Chinese market.