Ford Motor Company is planning to “redesign” its white-collar workforce, laying off an unknown number of its 70k white-collar employees, according to NBC News. While “redesigning” its workforce sounds entirely euphemistic, Ford CFO Bob Shanks says the restructuring will be aimed more at “making different choices about strategy” than cutting costs. Ford wants its white-collar workforce to have less hierarchy and deliver more decision-making privileges to employees, the automaker says.
The number of employees that could be cut as a result of Ford’s global restructuring is unknown, but NBC News reports that Morgan Stanley anticipates a “global headcount reduction of approximately 12 percent.” That would equate to roughly 24k of Ford’s 202k employees and hourly workers worldwide.
Many of those layoffs could come from Ford’s European and South American businesses, which are currently costing the automaker billions of dollars annually. Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said in May that investors ought to anticipate some “fairly large” changes in those markets as the automaker attempts to cut its losses and improve its financial fitness.
Of course, many of the layoffs could also come from North America, where the Blue Oval has taken a hit from U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade actions. New tariffs on imported steel and aluminum have already cost Ford Motor Company to the tune of $1 billion, CEO Jim Hackett says; even though Ford primarily uses metals that are produced domestically, prices have gone up as a result of the new import duties.
According to NBC News, Ford trails well behind General Motors in terms of vehicle sales-per-head, selling just 32.8 vehicles per employee to GM’s 52.7 per employee.