Ford Plans Methodical Approach to Workforce Cuts

Ford Motor Co. will take a methodical approach as it works to trim 10,000 salaried positions from its North American workforce as part of its ongoing Way Forward restructuring plan, says Mark Fields, president-The Americas. The auto maker will avoid the lawn mower approach, Fields says, referring to indiscriminate across-the-board cuts that could lead to the loss of key personnel in critical areas.

Ford Motor Co. will take a methodical approach as it works to trim 10,000 salaried positions from its North American workforce as part of its ongoing Way Forward restructuring plan, says Mark Fields, president-The Americas.

The auto maker will avoid the “lawn mower approach,” Fields says, referring to indiscriminate across-the-board cuts that could lead to the loss of key personnel in critical areas.

“I have done this (downsizing) before when I was at Mazda,” Fields says of his stint as president and CEO of the Ford subsidiary.

“We have a very specific strategy and set of processes to make sure all of our people know where we're heading and how the departments will be structured, and we'll work through this in an intelligent way.”

Ford plans to eliminate a total of about 30,000 jobs and close 14 factories as well as reduce its dealership network.

Ford officials have long maintained that Way Forward will be a product-driven recovery strategy. As such, the auto maker's engineering and product development ranks will have to be carefully scrutinized as the workforce is trimmed, Fields admits.

“Some areas are relatively lean, but we're not going to walk away from the overall number that we laid out,” he says. “The bottom line in product development is that we need the absolute best resources to make sure we back up our claim that this is a product-led recovery.”

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