Ford will decide by mid-February how many jobs to cut in Europe, a union official told Reuters on Tuesday, amid reports that BYD was in talks with the blue oval to buy one of its German sites.
The future of the Saarlouis site has been unclear since June last year, when Ford selected a site in Spain to assemble its next-generation electric vehicle (EV) opposite the German plant that will cease production of its current model, the Focus, from 2025 would.
said Reuters The Wall Street Journalciting sources familiar with the matter, had reported on Tuesday that Ford officials would travel to China next week to visit BYD to discuss selling the site to the Chinese electric vehicle maker.
Ford said it was in ongoing discussions with potential buyers and declined to comment on whether BYD was among them. BYD could not be immediately reached by Reuters for comment.
Ford and the Saarland state government agreed last September to work together to find new investors for the plant, subject to a final decision on a mutually-approved buyer.
BYD, the world’s largest seller of BEVs and plug-in hybrids in 2022, had told Reuters in October that it intends to produce electric cars in Europe, where it currently only makes electric buses at a plant in Hungary.
It sells three Chinese-made cars in a handful of European markets and said last November it plans to add more models and markets this year, one of numerous Chinese brands targeting Europe’s growing EV market.
Regardless, Reuters said union representatives at Ford’s largest German plant in Cologne would meet with Ford management on Saturday to negotiate planned job cuts across Europe, which management announced to workers on Monday.
Management figures presented 12,000 workers in a crowded assembly shop with a worst-case scenario of up to 2,500 job cuts in product development and another 700 in administration.
A second scenario is also on the table, the spokesman said, declining to give details.
Ford declined to comment on the planned cuts, referring to a Jan. 20 statement in which it said the move to EV production required structural changes and it would say no more until the plans have been completed.
Reuters noted that automaker hds has committed to an all-electric deployment in Europe by 2030, and its US leadership has repeatedly pointed out that electric vehicles require fewer workers.
The works council in Cologne has demanded that management make no layoffs before December 31, 2032 and that the approximately 2,500 product development employees remain part of the automaker’s global development landscape, Reuters added.