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Mon. 11:45 a.m.: Ford cuts 7K white-collar jobs

DETROIT (AP) – Ford will cut 7,000 white-color workers worldwide as part of its long-awaited restructuring plan, preparing for a future of electric and autonomous vehicles, the auto giant announced today.

The major revamp, which had been under way since last year, will save about $600 million per year by eliminating bureaucracy and increasing the number of workers reporting to each manager.

In the U.S. about 2,300 jobs will be cut through buyouts and layoffs. About 1,500 have left voluntarily or with buyouts, while another 300 have already been laid off. About 500 workers will be let go starting this week, largely in and around the company’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, just outside Detroit.

The layoffs are coming across a broad swath of the company including engineering, product development, marketing, information technology, logistics, finance and other areas. But the company also said it is hiring in some critical areas including those developing software and dealing with self-driving and electric vehicles.

In a memo to employees today CEO Jim Hackett said the fourth wave of the restructuring will start on Tuesday, with the majority of U.S. cuts being finished by Friday.

“To succeed in our competitive industry, and position Ford to win in a fast-charging future, we must reduce bureaucracy, empower managers, speed decision making and focus on the most valuable work, and cost cuts,” Hackett’s wrote.

It’s the second set of layoffs for Detroit-area automakers, even though the companies are making healthy profits. Sales in the U.S., where the automakers get most of their revenue, have fallen slightly but still are strong.

In November, General Motors announced it would shed up to 14,000 workers as it cut expenses to prepare for a shift to electric and autonomous vehicles. The layoffs included closure of five factories in the U.S. and Canada and cuts of another 8,000 white-collar workers worldwide. About 5,000 blue-collar positions were cut, but most of laid-off factory workers in the U.S. will be placed at other plants mainly that build trucks and SUVs.

Both companies have said the cuts are needed because the companies face huge capital expenditures to update their current vehicles and develop them for the future.

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