The second largest US automaker, Ford Motor, has announced it would reduce it workforce by around 500 positions at its Romanian production unit through the year, with fewer jobs than initially planned ultimately axed.
Ford, which is struggling to par losses of its Ford of Europe division for years, took control over the struggling Romanian carmaker Automobile Craiova (previously involved in the production of Citroen-based Oltcit brand and later on partner of South Korea’s Daewoo until its demise) back in 2008 and had trouble ramping up the factory’s production to begin assembly of the B-Max small minivan, which was started just three years ago. “Today we are able to confirm that we have reached an understanding with unions to implement a reduced work schedule at the Craiova plant, which will allow the company to avoid laying off approximately 170 people,” commented the company in a statement.
The B-Max minivan appeared in a time when the passenger car sales have started to swing in favor of more attractive SUV-styled crossovers – the latter deeply affecting the minivan segment in B-Max’s class. According to figures from JATO Dynamics, in 2014 the sales of the B-Max model dropped 21 percent to 53,838 units. Back in November, Ford Romania announced a strategy to reduce around 20 percent of its workforce – around 680 people – as the business was adjusted to cope with the new realities of the European market. Now, around 490 employees have agreed to enter a voluntary redundancy plan and the statement said the European unit was now searching for a suitable model to be added at the Craiova facility to tap unused capacity.
Via Automotive News Europe