Ford cuts unlikely to impact Thailand

Ford cuts unlikely to impact Thailand

Ford Thailand, a local arm of US carmaker Ford Motor Co, is unlikely to be affected by its parent company's plan to cut 1,400 salaried jobs in North America and Asia through voluntary early retirement and other financial incentives.

The No.2 US automaker is hoping the move will boost its sagging stock price.

According to an industry source, on the corporate side of things no impact is expected as the company initiated a headcount freeze last year after being briefed by the suits from Detroit about the need to get lean.

Local executives have been aware of this for quite some time, said the source.

But manufacturing-wise, he said a possible impact is likely as there is still some fat at the company's Rayong facilities.

If Ford can maintain export and domestic demand for the Ranger pickup and Everest SUV, both of which are selling well enough at the moment, then no impact is likely, said the source.

"Production of passenger cars is very small now due to ageing products. New replacements are still hanging in the balance. If they can counter this by increasing production of pickups and SUVs, there will be an impact, but we hope it will be minimal," said the source, who asked not to be named.

According to a statement from Ford Asean, the full details of the cutbacks will be communicated to Ford's employees next month.

"At this point, a cost reduction initiative includes a plan to reduce 10% of Ford's salaried costs and personnel levels in North America and Asia-Pacific this year, using voluntary packages," said the statement.

In Asean, the Michigan-based company has its main production hub in Thailand, operating two plants in Rayong with combined capacity of 315,000 units per year. It also runs an assembly plant in Vietnam, making 20,000 units annually.

Thailand makes the Ranger pickup, Everest and EcoSport sport-utility vehicles, and Fiesta and Focus hatchbacks to serve 180 markets worldwide.

Ford has four companies registered in Thailand -- Ford Motor Company (Thailand), Ford Operations (Thailand), Ford Services (Thailand) and Ford Sales & Service (Thailand). The number of employees at those firms is not available.

Last year, Ford reported overall sales at 40,972 vehicles, up by 12.4%. The Ranger was Ford's main contributor at 30,756 vehicles, up by 29%, while the Everest sales rose by 42% to 7,111 vehicles.

In Thailand, Ford sold 525 Focus passenger cars in 2016, down by 44%, and 409 Fiestas, down by 86.8%.

Ford Motor Co said on Wednesday it plans to cut 1,400 salaried jobs in North America and Asia through voluntary early retirement and other financial incentives as the automaker looks to boost its sagging stock price, according to Reuters.

Ford said the cuts would amount to 10% of a group of 15,000 managers and other non-production workers, reducing labour costs for that segment by 10%.

The company said a large group of salaried workers would not be affected by the planned cuts, including those in product development and employees in the Ford Credit unit. The cuts will not apply to Ford's Europe or South America units.

About two-thirds of the buyout offers are in North America and the rest are slated for Asia.

The automaker will offer financial incentives, including early retirement offers, to encourage salaried employees to depart voluntarily by the end of September.

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