Ford Motor to slash 3,000 jobs as it pivots to a software future

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Ford Motor Co said it will cut a total of 3,000 salaried and contract jobs, mostly in North America and India, as it restructures to catch up with Tesla Inc in the race to develop software-driven electric vehicles.

Ford Chief Executive Jim Farley has been signaling for months that he believed the Dearborn, Mich. automaker had too many people, and that not enough of its workforce had the skills required for success as the auto industry shifts to electric vehicles and digital services.

“We are eliminating work, as well as reorganising and simplifying functions throughout the business. You will hear more specifics from the leaders of your area of the business later this week,” Farley and Ford Chairman Bill Ford wrote in a joint email.

Ford Motor’s net income rose 19% in the second quarter as the company pulled together enough computer chips to boost factory output and sales.

The automaker said recently that it made $667 million from April through June, compared with $561 million a year earlier.

The company stuck with its full-year outlook for pretax earnings of $11.5 billion to $12.5 billion and it still expects 10% to 15% growth in vehicle sales to dealers for the full year. It also boosted its dividend from 10 cents per share to 15 cents per share starting in the third quarter, the level it was before the pandemic.

But Chief Financial Officer John Lawler said the automaker is modeling several scenarios in case the economy slips into a recession. He says Ford is better prepared for a downturn than in the past thanks to lower expenses and a stronger model lineup.

It’s also in the midst of a major transformation of the business that will include white-collar job cuts. CEO Jim Farley told analysts Wednesday that the company is too complex and its costs aren’t competitive. It also has too many employees in some areas.

The company, he said has too many versions of its internal-combustion vehicles. It plans to create more models off the same electric vehicle underpinnings, spending capital on areas that affect customers such as software, digital displays and automated driving systems, Farley said.

Areas that will see cuts will be decided by examinations of work flows, Farley said.

Ford has realigned itself into three business units, one for electric vehicles, another for commercial vehicles and another for internal-combustion vehicles. Lawler said the company’s factories are still slowed by the global shortage of computer chips, which he expects to improve in the fourth quarter.

The company is planning for macroeconomic problems, with the next issue being energy shortages in Europe due to Russia limiting natural gas supplies. Ford, he said, has 550 parts-supply companies in high risk areas of Europe, with 130 sending parts to North America.

From April through June, adjusted earnings per share were 68 cents, beating Wall Street estimates of 45 cents, according to FactSet. Revenue was $40.19 billion, also beating analyst estimates of $36.87 billion.

Sales in the US, Ford’s most profitable market, rose just under 2% for the quarter. That boosted profits when coupled with strong demand and high prices for trucks and SUVs.

$1.7 billion verdict: Ford Motor plans to appeal a $1.7 billion verdict against the automaker after a pickup truck crash that claimed the lives of a Georgia couple, a company representative said on Sunday.

Jurors in Gwinnett County, just northeast of Atlanta, returned the verdict late last week in the yearslong civil case involving what the plaintiffs’ lawyers called dangerously defective roofs on ford pickup trucks, lawyer James Butler Jr. said Sunday.

Melvin and Voncile Hill were killed in April 2014 in the rollover wreck of their 2002 ford F-250. Their children Kim and Adam Hill were the plaintiffs in the wrongful death case.

“While our sympathies go out to the Hill family, we do not believe the verdict is supported by the evidence, and we plan to appeal,” ford said in a statement to The Associated Press on Sunday.

Butler said he was stunned by evidence in the case.

“I used to buy ford trucks,” Butler said on Sunday. “I thought nobody would sell a truck with a roof this weak. The damn thing is useless in a wreck. You might as well drive a convertible.”

In closing arguments, lawyers hired by the company defended the actions of ford and its engineers.

The Michigan-based automaker sought to defend the company against accusations “that ford and its engineers acted willfully and wantonly, with a conscious indifference for the safety of the people who ride in their cars when they made these decisions about roof strength,” defense lawyer William Withrow Jr. said in his closing arguments, according to a court transcript.

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