Ford cuts 580 salaried, agency jobs

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. is cutting roughly 580 salaried and agency jobs in the U.S., the Dearborn automaker confirmed Wednesday after reporting a $3.1 billion first-quarter loss.

The move comes less than two months after the Dearborn automaker unveiled a restructuring plan under which it is separating its legacy internal combustion engine and electric vehicle businesses into separate units within the company. 

At that time, executives signaled that the restructuring would involve changes for the workforce.

“As we move forward, there’s going to have to be a change in the skill mix," Kumar Galhotra, now president of Ford Blue, the ICE business unit, said at the time. "We will reduce skills in certain areas, and we’ll have to invest more in other areas. So nothing’s off the table and we’re going to work with our employees, with all our partners, to do this in a very integrated way.”

The cuts confirmed Wednesday are in engineering. The Detroit Free Press was first to report the reductions.

"We continue to align staffing around the critical skills needed to deliver our products, services, and the Ford+ plan," Ford spokesperson Monique Brentley said in a statement. "We are making adjustments in select U.S. engineering teams, which includes some reassignments as well as a reduction of approximately 350 salaried and 230 agency positions."

Part of the restructuring involves reducing costs on the ICE side of the business, though Brentley said Wednesday the ICE-EV business unit transition is still taking place.

“The opportunity here is that there’s going to be growth in the company, but some parts of our company like the ICE side is going to get leaner, absolutely," CEO Jim Farley told The Detroit News when the restructuring was announced in early March. "We have too many people as we speak, in many parts of our ICE business. And so it will shift. But the most important shift will be the know-how and capability, the skills.”

At that time, he specifically cited agency workers as an area of evaluation, saying: "We hire literally tens of thousands of people to do basic work at Ford that aren’t Ford employees, and we hire them for that flexibility."

At the same time, Ford executives have talked about the need to bring in new talent in areas like software development.

"We're getting after our talent gap in key areas: EV engineering, software and autonomous driving technology," Farley told investment analysts Wednesday following the automaker's first-quarter earnings report. "We have a very good start already, and we will continually be very aggressive on recruiting talent."

In a statement, Brentley said that Ford provides benefits packages "to eligible employees including severance equal to up to nine months of pay based on service, benefits continuation for up to nine months based on service, and career transition services."

Overall, Ford employs more than 182,000 people globally.

Twitter: @JGrzelewski