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Australia hit by latest Ford job cuts

Targeted: Job cuts announced in Detroit this week will hit an unspecified number of Ford Australia employees, particularly those working at its Richmond head office in Melbourne.

Ford Australia white-collar workers face redundancy as Detroit announces broad cuts

19 May 2017

UPDATED: 19/05/2017 2:00PM FORD has confirmed that an unspecified number of jobs will be lost in Australia as part of a 10 per cent reduction of its salaried workforce across Asia-Pacific and North America announced this week.

Ford Australia communications and public affairs director Martin Gunsberg told GoAuto today that the local subsidiary of the American auto giant was now working to determine the number of affected staff to be made redundant.

Impacting some 1400 white-collar workers across both regions, the departments targeted by the decision taken in Detroit include corporate communications, government affairs, human resources, finance, marketing, purchasing and sales.

The cuts will not impact employees involved in product development – including the 1750 engineers, designers and other professionals at the Victorian-based Ford Asia-Pacific Product Development Centre (APPDC) – nor will they hit staff working in IT, global data and analytics, manufacturing or Ford Credit.

That leaves about 300 staff members at Ford Australia who are impacted.

GoAuto understands that voluntary redundancy packages will be issued next month, with the company aiming to have the process completed by September.

“Some skills teams in Australia will be affected, however product development – APPDC – is already improving total operating efficiencies in other ways and is excluded,” Mr Gunsberg said.

“We are still working through what this means for the broader team in Australia and will share more details when available.” The APPDC has actually been on a recruitment drive this year, hiring around 250 new employees after receiving a 50 per cent increase in vehicle development expenditure in Australia – to $450 million – as Ford uses the Victorian facilities to help develop a host of new-generation vehicles, including the next Ranger utility that will be sold in both North America and China, along with the related Everest and Bronco SUVs.

However, at Ford Motor Company headquarters in Dearborn, chief executive Mark Fields is faced with slowing sales in the Blue Oval’s home market and cost pressures coming on various fronts, such as the need to maintain or increase production and staffing at its American factories at the behest of US president Donald Trump, and the heavy investment being pumped into new technology including vehicle automation.

In a statement, Ford said: “We remain focused on the three strategic priorities that will create value and drive profitable growth, which include fortifying the profit pillars in our core business, transforming traditionally underperforming areas of our core business and investing aggressively, but prudently, in emerging opportunities.

“Reducing costs and becoming as lean and efficient as possible also remain part of that work, including plans to reduce 10 per cent of our salaried costs and personnel levels in North America and Asia-Pacific this year, using voluntary packages.” Overseas reports indicate that two-thirds of the redundancy offers will be made in North America as the company targets its own backyard and Asia-Pacific because other major regions such as Europe and South America have already suffered white-collar cutbacks.

Workers in the Middle East and Africa region are also not impacted.

There will be some 9600 offers made in the US, where the total salaried workforce is around 30,000. Elsewhere, 1000 offers will be made in the relevant departments in Mexico, 600 in Canada and 4140 in Asia-Pacific.

About 600 Ford Australia manufacturing employees received redundancy packages last October when the company closed its vehicle production operations, while a further 80 are also preparing to leave after staying on to help the company complete its transition to a full-line vehicle importer.

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