Job cuts in Cologne – development center to become smaller

Dusseldorf The new job cuts at Ford Europe will primarily affect the development area. Several thousand jobs could be cut in the Ford development center in Cologne alone. This was announced on Monday after a works meeting from company circles. The American car company therefore wants to concentrate its development area more in the USA in the future.

At the end of last week, plans for further job cuts at Ford Europe became known. A final decision on the exact scope is not expected until spring. Ford management is currently discussing where exactly the US car company will start making cuts. The corporate headquarters in Detroit is also involved.

The last program for comprehensive job cuts was only a few years ago. In 2019 and 2020, around 5,000 jobs were lost at Ford Germany and another 5,000 at other European Ford locations. After that, the US group announced that there should actually be no further job cuts in Europe.

Ford plans hit administrative areas

It is currently becoming apparent that vehicle production will be less affected by the new austerity measures. In addition to vehicle development, the new restructuring should primarily affect the supply of spare parts and the administrative areas. Ford had already announced last year that the number of passenger car models in Europe should be significantly reduced. In 2030, the US group wants to produce only fully electric cars on the European continent.

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According to company circles after the works meeting, up to 2,500 of the current 3,800 jobs in the Ford development center in Cologne could be cut as part of the new cost-cutting program. This would particularly affect well-trained engineers. Around 19,000 people currently work for Ford Germany, 14,000 of them in Cologne. The works council and IG Metall announced opposition to the plans.

>> Also read: The car manufacturers want to get out of the combustion engine

Since Ford Europe will drastically reduce the number of car models it offers in the coming years, there will be significantly less work in the European development center in Cologne in the future. Van models like the S-Max and C-Max have already been phased out, as has the mid-range Mondeo.




in the Cologne development center Ford could cancel as part of the new savings program, according to company circles.

Production of the small Fiesta car is discontinued in Cologne in the summer. In Saarlouis, Ford will cease production of its Golf competitor Focus in 2025 and then give up the car plant completely. 4,500 employees will lose their jobs as a result. Of the dozen or so Ford models produced in Europe, only a handful will remain in the future.

Two new electric models, which have been designed on the basis of the MEB Volkswagen electric kit, will be produced in Cologne instead of the Fiestas. Production of the first electric model is scheduled to begin at Ford’s German headquarters in October, with another all-electric vehicle to follow next year.

Ford only builds electric cars

At the Ford factory in Valencia, Spain, the US group is expected to produce two more electric models by the end of the decade. According to the previous plan, these cars will again be developed and constructed on a Ford-owned platform. The development work required for this can be concentrated much more strongly in the USA.

>> Also read: Ford Europe is shrinking the model range, but wants to remain a volume manufacturer

This also explains why the European development center in Cologne is to cut jobs in large numbers. In recent years, the development engineers there have mainly been busy adapting Volkswagen’s MEB electrical kit to the Ford systems and then developing their own Ford models on this basis.

“We do not comment on the current speculation about a possible restructuring at Ford in Europe,” said a company spokesman about the information from the works meeting. Ford is currently accelerating its plans to build a fully electric vehicle portfolio in Europe.

“This transformation brings significant changes to how we design, build and sell Ford vehicles and will impact our future organizational structure,” added the Ford spokesman. The US group will announce further details once the final decisions have been made.

We do not comment on the current speculation about a possible restructuring at Ford in Europe. Ford spokesman on the information from the works meeting

At the Ford headquarters in Cologne, jobs are not only being cut in the development center, it was said on the sidelines of the works meeting. The US car company has also concentrated the supply of spare parts for its dealer network in the Rhineland. With the switch to fully electric models, the need for spare parts also decreases, because e-cars are generally less prone to repairs. Ford therefore also wants to downsize the spare parts center in Cologne, which currently employs around 1,200 people.

Ford Europe will be significantly smaller

There will be further cuts in the administration area in Cologne, where Ford’s German and European headquarters are located. Around 3,300 employees currently work in the administration of the US car company there. According to reports, up to 20 percent of this could be cut, i.e. a good 600 jobs.

There are also concerns in Aachen, where Ford has its own research site and several hundred jobs. The focus there is on new internal combustion engines.

>> Read about this: Ford is planning this at the Saarlouis site

If the US company sticks to its plans and only produces and sells fully electric models in a few years, then the car manufacturer will no longer need a research area for combustion engines. The engine plant in Cologne could also become superfluous in the future. Its employees are to be used in the Cologne electric vehicle production.

Ford will irrevocably stick to the closure of the car plant in Saarlouis. A maximum of 500 to 700 employees could remain on Ford’s payroll, announced Germany boss Martin Sander last year. Employees from Saarlouis are to be offered jobs in Cologne vehicle production.

Ford Europe has had major economic problems for years. Losses in the billions had built up due to declining sales figures and underutilized factories. The US group was not very successful in the European car business. However, the sales figures for light commercial vehicles have developed much better, where Ford is the European market leader.

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