Overnight the Blue Oval announced it will cut 3800 jobs, or about 11 per cent of its headcount, across Ford of Europe.
The automaker says 1000 jobs will be lost from administrative functions, and 2800 jobs will be cut from product development. The majority of the engineering job losses will occur in Germany (1700) and the UK (1000).
After the cuts have been completed, Ford anticipates it will have around 3400 engineers in Europe, who will be focussed on “vehicle design and development, as well as the creation of connected services”.
If Ford is successful in making these reductions, it will shrink its European product development team by a smidge over 45 per cent.
Ford says it is hoping “achieve the reductions through voluntary separation programs”, and that “these changes are driven by the transition to fully electric powertrains and reduced vehicle complexity”. Ford is planning to field an all-electric range in Europe by 2035.
In a prepared statement, Martin Sander, head of Ford’s Model E division on the Continent, said the company is “completely reinventing the Ford brand in Europe” to be “unapologetically American”.
The first phase of this transformation will take place next quarter when Ford reveals its first made-in-Europe EV, which Sander promises “will surely turn heads”.
This crossover will be the first of two vehicles based on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB architecture, both of which will be built in Cologne, Germany in place of the Fiesta that’s currently being built there.
Coming in 2024 is all-electric variant of the popular Puma crossover.
Subsequent European EVs will reportedly be based on a new, as-yet unseen platform being developed in the US, and will be built in Valencia, Spain.
In addition to these announced electric passenger cars, Ford of Europe’s slimmed down design and engineering departments will also be responsible for maintaining the company’s position as the Continent’s number one commercial vehicle brand.
As pointed out in a recent opinion piece in Automotive News Europe, Ford’s market share in Europe has dropped dramatically over the past few decades, from 11.8 per cent in 1994 to 8.2 per cent in 2007, and 4.8 per cent in 2021.
While sales of the Focus and Fiesta have slipped in recent years, the segments they play in are still very popular, with Fiesta-class and smaller vehicles occupying six of the top 10 spots on last year’s European sales charts.
There are rumours the Kuga/Escape will not be replaced, although this won’t mean Ford will go without a vehicle in the small crossover segment as the company sells the more, rugged Escape-based Bronco Sport in North America.
For Europe the EV range will grow include to a Volkswagen ID.4-sized crossover this year, with a crossover coupe variant joining the fray in 2024.