The source of the incoming Ford layoffs has been clarified by a company spokesperson.
Last week, we reported that Ford would be laying off up to 20,000 salaried workforce positions in the wake of the steel and aluminum tariffs levied against China. According to a company spokesman, the layoffs are a result of an ongoing company-wide restructuring and not due to external forces such as tariffs.
Although Ford has also said they’re certainly not helping.
An analyst with Morgan Stanley cited the 20,000 number after Ford execs warned their global workforce that reductions in staff will come as part of their ongoing restructuring efforts. Ford is at the beginning of a $25 billion restructuring as it seeks greater efficiencies in a competitive global automotive market.
However, it is incorrect to imply that layoffs are a direct result of Chinese steel and aluminum tariffs. Speaking with Snopes.com, Ford spokesperson Karen Hampton stated: "This [reorganization] is a global effort and not specific to the U.S. We began this effort recently as part of our CEO’s work to make us a faster, more nimble, more innovative company."
Hampton reiterated that the workforce reduction would only affect salaried employees and not hourly/manufacturing positions. She further clarified that reductions would occur through a combination of normal attrition and layoffs and that these reductions had been long-planned and are not the result of tariffs.
Ford has long been against tariffs instituted by the current White House administration. CEO Jim Hackett stated last month that the steel and aluminum levies are expected to cost the company up to $1 billion--a number that will only increase the longer the levies stay in place.
Speaking at a Ford event to celebrate the beginning of production for the new Ranger mid-size pickup, president of global operations Joe Hinrichs continued to speak out against Chinese steel tariffs.
“U.S. steel costs are more than anywhere else in the world,” he said, adding that Ford executives are in contact with the White House arguing for an end to the levies. “We tell them that we need to have competitive costs in our market in order to compete around the world.”