Building electric cars is becoming more and more expensive, in terms of costs of materials, energy, but above all in terms of human resources. As reported by the Associated Press and by Reuters, taken from the main American news sites, the Ford Motor Company announced that it will lay off 3,000 employees, 2,000 permanent hires and 1,000 on contract. The cut represents 6% of the 31,000 full-time salaries in the US and Canada and will affect workers in the US, Canada and India. The workforce in the workshops, which number 56,000, will not be affected by this measure.
Automotive News revealed the text of the announcement: as is nowadays practice, lnotification of the dismissals was made by e-mail, with a message from executive chairman, Bill Ford, and CEO Jim Farley. “Building on this future means changing and virtually transforming all aspects of the way we have operated for more than a century,” the e-mail reads. “You need concentration, clarity and speed. And, as we have discussed in recent months, it means redistributing resources and addressing our cost structure, which is not competitive with traditional and new competitors ”(basically General Motors, Stellantis and Tesla). The renovation will be massive: “We are eliminating some jobs, as well as reorganizing and simplifying certain functions throughout the business.”
Already in July, CEO Farley, in a quarterly statement, had not used half measures: “[Ford ha] absolutely too many people in some positions, there is no question about that ”. It was already a clear signal that the 182,000 employees of the historic US car group should be resized. “Those who leave the company are friends and colleagues and we want to thank them for their contribution – we read – We have an obligation to take care of them and support them, providing not only benefits but also significant help in finding new job opportunities”.
In short, Ford, according to his own plans executive manager, it fires thousands of employees to be able to reinvest in the electricity business and related increasingly sophisticated software. More revenue should be guaranteed by digital services and connectivity related to electricity: practically Tesla’s strategy. The exorbitant prices of batteries, raw materials and shipments make the period even more difficult. In 2023, then, the executives of the major North American automotive groups will have to confront the union United American Workers for the renewal of the contract, with a negotiation that surely promises to be incandescent. The same union, with the growth of battery and software systemsfears losing control of the situation.
Jumping on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, there is also a risk in Europe and Italy of a situation dramatically similar to that which has just happened to Ford in the USA. The stop to the sale of diesel and petrol cars from 2035, decreed in June by the EU, could cause a similar upheaval in the entire automotive sector. Already a few months ago the presidents of Confindustria del Nord feared the risk that 70,000 jobs in the automotive sector could jump. The same warning came from Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti a year ago during the first edition of La Ripartenza. Not to mention that turning sharply on the electric one would clash with the fact that China is, and would continue to be for a long time, in first place in the sector. The Western world would therefore hand over to the Asian giant, its main economic and political opponent, one of the strategic sectors in which it already excels globally.
Andrea Gebbia, 23 August 2022
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