Ford Focus Production Ends in Germany, Leading to Layoffs

Ford is set to lay off approximately 3,500 workers in Germany as it ceases production of the once-popular Focus model, transitioning towards selling solely Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) in Europe. This move, slated for 2025, marks a significant shift in the automotive industry and signals Ford’s commitment to electric mobility.

Transition to BEV Production

The decision to halt Ford Focus production at the Saarlouis plant is significant. This plant exclusively manufactures this model. This decision reflects Ford’s strategic pivot towards Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) in Europe. According to reports from Automotive News Europe, this shift aligns with Ford’s vision for the future of mobility and sustainability.

Negotiations and Worker Transition

Rumors surrounding the fate of the Saarlouis plant have circulated for two years, intensifying as Ford opted to produce its next-generation EVs in Spain. Negotiations between Ford and IG Metall, the influential German union, have been ongoing to determine the fate of the workers affected by the transition.

Job Cuts and Retraining Efforts

With approximately 4,500 employees currently at the Saarlouis plant, Ford plans to offer retraining options to 1,000 workers post-2025. Despite the impending layoffs, IG Metall has secured favorable terms for affected employees, ensuring no forced layoffs until 2032 and providing early departure incentives.

Union Response

Joerg Koehlinger, district manager of IG Metall Mitte, emphasized the union’s commitment to safeguarding workers’ interests. He stated that while the ideal solution wasn’t achieved, efforts were made to minimize the impact on employees and hold Ford accountable for the transition’s costs.

Failed Investment Plans

Previous talks between Ford and a potential investor for the Saarlouis plant, including discussions with BYD, ultimately fell through. This setback highlights the challenges in securing alternative solutions amidst industry transformations.

Focus Electric History

Ford’s foray into electric vehicles with the Ford Focus Electric, launched in 2013 at the Saarlouis plant, faced challenges with weak sales leading to its discontinuation in Europe and the United States. This history underscores the complexities of adapting to evolving market demands.

Industry-wide Adjustments

Ford’s layoffs come amidst broader industry adjustments, exemplified by Volkswagen’s recent announcement of job cuts in Germany. Volkswagen’s Zwickau site, dedicated to electric car production, reflects similar challenges in aligning production with shifting market dynamics.

Also, Read about FlixBus Launches in India: Ambassador Ackermann Applauds