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May 17, 2017

Ford confirms 'people actions' with 10% cut in workforce

A Ford F250 Super Duty truck is displayed at the new Louisville Ford truck plant in Kentucky, U.S.

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Ford Motor Co (F.N) 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 No. 2 U.S. automaker looks to boost its sagging stock price.

Ford said the cuts would amount to about 10 per cent of a group of 15,000 salaried workers. The company said a large group of salaried workers would not be covered by the planned cuts, including those in product develop and in the Ford Credit unit. The cuts will not apply to Ford's Europe or South America units.

About two-thirds of the planned cuts are in North America and the rest in Asia. Ford does not plan to cut hourly workers or production.

The automaker will offer financial incentives to encourage salaried employees to depart voluntarily, including generous early retirement offers, a person briefed on the plan said.

Ford told BNN on Wednesday the moves come as part of a regular update on the company's progress of expanding to an auto and mobility company and that they outlined with the Ford team their "accelerated attack on costs" and "clarified speculation around people actions." 

“We remain focused on the three strategic priorities that will create value and drive profitable growth, which include fortifying the profit pillars in our core business, transforming traditionally underperforming areas of our core business and investing aggressively, but prudently, in emerging opportunities," Ford wrote in a statement to BNN. 

"Reducing costs and becoming as lean and efficient as possible also remain part of that work, including plans to reduce 10 per cent of our salaried costs and personnel levels in North America and Asia Pacific this year, using voluntary packages.”

In 2016, Ford cut hundreds of white-collar jobs in Europe to reduce costs by $200 million annually.

Ford stock was little changed in premarket trading on Wednesday. The shares are down nearly 40 per cent since Mark Fields took over as chief executive officer in July 2014.

The Detroit automakers have been under pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to add jobs in the United States, but declining U.S. sales and stalled share values are exerting a stronger force.

Ford said in January it was cancelling a planned Mexico plant and adding 700 jobs in Michigan.

Last month it announced plans to cut costs by $3 billion in 2017. Automakers are trimming costs as they brace for slowing auto sales.

General Motors Co (GM.N) has cut more than 4,000 U.S. jobs since November, and moved to conserve capital by shedding its European operations and closing unprofitable operations in Asia.

-- With files from BNN