At Motoring Weekly, we have been reporting on the growing reduction in production capacity across the globe over the past year. Despite some good news in a handful of countries, it seems that most established manufacturing centres are at risk in some form.
Recently we reported that Ford was adding 500 jobs in the heartland, upgrading factories and adding new production lines as old ones are retired. That came after the company posted its first Quarterly loss in two years and they timed an announcement about European job losses such that they were overshadowed by the job losses announced by Jaguar Land Rover. In addition, they also cut jobs in South America and China to stem the losses outside the US.
To go along with their job losses at their European factories, the company has said that it will look at the product mix being manufactured in Russia. They make mostly passenger cars in the country including the Mondeo, Fiesta and Focus with some SUVs and commercial vehicles in a 50/50 joint venture with Sollers, a local company. They have three plants and it is possible that at least one will close, although it is likely that production of the passenger cars will stop in favour of more SUVs. That would tie in with the US strategy and could suit Russian buyers as well.
Ford Sollers is in direct competition with Volkswagen, Kia, Hyundai, Toyota and the local AvtoVaz company who are famous for the Lada (based on FIAT designs) however now owned mostly by Renault. Ford are the only one to see their sales slip in comparison to the other manufacturers and that could simply be based on the types of vehicles built and sold.
The Russian company has been making a loss for a few years and like Toyota in the US, a change of product mix may well turn around their fortunes, however in doing so, several thousand more workers are likely to be affected.