Kentucky jobs safe from Ford cuts

Ford oval badge in the grill of a pickup truck

Ford Motor, facing pressure to improve profitability amid a lagging stock price, confirmed Wednesday that it would cut almost 10% of its salaried workforce in its North America and Asia Pacific divisions.

The news agency reports that by October 1, Ford will lay off only salaried workers offering them generous early retirement incentives. Fields and his team have talked at length about the work they are doing, and about the investments needed to undertake the transformation of Ford's businesses.

The buyouts are part of a strategy Ford laid out last September at its investor day conference, when CFO Bob Shanks said the automaker would be looking to save about $3 billion per year each of the next three years as costs rise.

There was no immediate comment from President Donald Trump, who needled Ford during his campaign over its plans to build a new small auto plant in Mexico.

The president, who has been quick to comment on Ford and other auto makers' jobs announcement, was silent on Twitter the morning of the announcement. Trump applauded both actions.

Automakers have widespread shutdowns planned for the summer to adjust to the US auto market's recent slowdown, conflicting with Trump's more upbeat depiction of the state of the industry. A television commercial marking Trump's first 100 days showed line workers assembling vehicles as the backdrop to a boast about job creation.

The offer will be open to around 9,600 workers in the United States, 1,000 in Mexico, 600 in Canada and 4,141 in Asia. The Dearborn, Michigan, company says it will release more details to employees in June. Shareholders complained about the lagging stock price and asked why Ford was investing in the future if it hurt profits today.

"Ford Motor Co.is in my backyard", she said in a statement. Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens said GM was considering cuts to its white collar staff in order to rein in costs. "Ford is trimming salaried employees, G.M.is cutting production shifts at some factories and Fiat Chrysler has idled plants that make passenger cars". Information technology and analytics workers also aren't targeted. Ford also isn't likely to cut jobs in its emerging businesses, such as its research center in Palo Alto, California. Ford said last August that it planned to hire more than 100 engineers, researchers and others in Palo Alto.

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"The move comes as Ford targets $3 billion in cost reductions for 2017, a plan meant to improve profitability in 2018 even as US auto sales plateau", the Wall Street Journal's Christina Rogers wrote Monday in a story that anticipated the official statement emailed to reporters yesterday. Ford hired more than 15,000 factory workers between 2011 and 2015.

But investors are anxious about slowing sales and an industry that could be dominated by autonomous vehicles and auto sharing in the future.

About two-thirds of the buyout offers are in North America and the rest in Asia. The cuts will be selective so Ford can retain the tech-savvy employees it's recruited to develop driverless and electric cars.

Ford shares are down almost 40 percent since Fields took the helm in July 2014. Fields was grilled by his board last week and impugned by investors eager for a turnaround in Ford's declining earnings and shares.

"We're frustrated, but our business is performing well".

Ford shares on Wednesday closed down 1.7 percent to $10.76 per share, on a day when stock indexes were down sharply.

Ford's stock fell to a 52-week low on May 17, trading down about 1.5 percent as of 10:47 a.m.to $10.78 a share.

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