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Ford plans layoff of 680 workers at its Craiova, Romania plant next year

Ford Motor Co. plans a layoff of around 680 workers at its Craiova site in Romania in 2015 to adapt to the still weak demand in Europe. The Craiova site has been building the B-Max minivan since two years ago, after Ford acquired local carmaker Automobile Craiova in 2008.

Weak demand for the minivan in Europe – down 21 percent to 43,749 units in the first nine months of 2014 -- has resulted to regular production stoppages each month for more than a year.

Ford Romania said in a statement that to help better “secure the competitiveness” of the Craiova plant and to control operational costs, the carmaker has to take necessary measures to adjust production volumes to the current market demand, including a reduction in the site’s workforce.

Read the entire article Ford plans layoff of 680 workers at its Craiova, Romania plant next year

Nissan to add 1,000 more jobs at its Canton, Mississippi site

Nissan plans to beef up its workforce at its Canton site in Mississippi by 1,000 more people to achieve production targets by the end of 2017. That means that the site would be employing 7,000 people at the time. Increasing sales at Nissan are squeezing its production capacity in North America. In fact, its sites in Mississippi, Tennessee and Mexico are now running on three shifts.

According to John Martin, Nissan North America's senior vice president for manufacturing, supply chain management and purchasing, this month’s production start of the Murano at Canton will mean an output increase from around 350,000 vehicles this year to 507,000 vehicles in 2017.

Aside from the Murano, the Canton site is also responsible for assembling the Altima, Titan, Armada, Xterra, Frontier and NV. Nissan’s Smyrna site in Tennessee is also expected to build around 640,000 vehicles this year, including the Altima, Leaf, Maxima, Pathfinder, Rogue and Infiniti QX60.

Read the entire article Nissan to add 1,000 more jobs at its Canton, Mississippi site

Honda to cut around 340 jobs at Swindon site in the UK citing disappointing sales growth

Honda has unveiled more job cuts at its manufacturing operations in the United Kingdom, citing slumping sales in Europe. According to Honda, it planned to move from a three-shift to a two-shift pattern at its Swindon site in England, which should result in an estimated 340 job losses. The move means that the Japanese carmaker is now expecting to build around 120,000 vehicles in 2014 at its Swindon plant, representing a 15-percent drop from its production in 2013, tagged at 140,094 vehicles.

Honda has been building cars at Swindon since 1992, producing the Civic, Civic Tourer, CR-V and Jazz models for the British and European markets. The site could produce up to 250,000 cars a year. Honda’s market share in EU and EFTA countries has dropped 1 percent from 1.1 percent so far this year. In the first two months of 2014, the carmaker’s sales in the region fell 10 percent to 18,037, according to figures from the industry body ACEA.

Ian Howells, senior vice president of Honda Motor Europe, remarked that the Japanese carmaker had not seen the growth it had forecasted over the past year. "With no increase forecasted for the next couple of years, we must scale our manufacturing activity accordingly," Howells said in a statement. Howells said Honda was confident in the long-term future of the Swindon site after a restructuring that followed 800 job cuts in 2013.

Read the entire article Honda to cut around 340 jobs at Swindon site in the UK citing disappointing sales growth

Honda to cut 800 jobs from Swindon facility’s workforce

Honda will be reducing its workforce in the United Kingdom as it sees no signs that the current vehicle sales slump in Europe will reach its end soon enough. The Japanese carmaker plans to reduce its workforce at its Swindon plant in England by 800 jobs. According to analysts, Honda’s problems go beyond the European sales slump, since fellow Japanese carmaker is boosting its workforce and production at its UK plant.

The planned job cuts will be Honda’s first in the UK since commencing production in 1992. Ken Keir, executive vice president of Honda Europe, said that the carmaker’s restructuring is essential to "meet the new reality of the car market."

Keir expected to post weak sales in Europe in the next three years. In 2012, vehicle sales in Europe dropped for the fifth consecutive year. Honda also suffered a 6-percent drop in sales in Europe to 141,019 units, forcing its share to slide to 1.1 percent, according to data from industry association ACEA.

Read the entire article Honda to cut 800 jobs from Swindon facility’s workforce

There are new Jaguar models and so to cope with the added volume, Jaguar Land Rover will be hiring 1100 new workers for its Castle Bromwich manufacturing plant. One of these models is the Jaguar XF Sportbrake, which will start selling at the end of this year and which has a starting price of £31,940. In addition, the Castle Bromwich facility will be where the new 2013 model year XF and XJ models will be built.

Jaguar is also planning a car that will rival the BMW 3-series and a radical, sporty 4x4 crossover. Both are expected to boost Jaguar’s sales volume nearer to its 100,000 units per year medium-term goal.

According to JLR CEO Ralf Speth, the launch of its latest Jaguar models, such as the new XF Sportbrake that will come out later this year, represents a very exciting time for the automaker. These new models are likely to appeal to those who are new to the brand.

Read the entire article Jaguar Land Rover will add 1,100 jobs to build its new models

BMW AG wants to increase its total work force around the world to over 104,000 employees and intends to add 4,000 new workers this year, according to CEO Norbert Reithofer. At the 2012 Geneva Auto Show, Reithofer told Automotive News Europe that the BMW Group had about 100,000 employees at the end of 2011. Its new employees for this year will be assigned mostly to the “fields of r&d, purchasing and sales."

Last year, BMW was able to raise its global work force by 5% to 100,306 people. This figure includes the staff of ING Car Lease, a fleet management company that BMW bought in 2011. This is the first time that BMW increased its work force since 2007 when BMW had 107,539 workers. BMW had its highest number of workers in 1998 with 118,489 people.

BMW Group is adding more employees as last year, it broke records for unit sales (1.67 million), revenues (68.8 billion euros) and pre-tax profit (7.4 billion euros).

Read the entire article Bmw wants to add 4,000 jobs this year

Daimler has fallen behind Audi and BMW when it comes to profitability but while it seeks to narrow the gap, it won’t resort to reducing its workforce, according to Daimler’s personnel chief Wilfried Porth. In an interview with Reuters, Porth said that there’s “no reason” to focus just on personnel in raising efficiency. He added that staff costs make up less than a fifth of group expenses.

In 2011, Daimler's Mercedes posted a 9% operating margin. The frontrunners, Audi and BMW, typically sell cars that are priced lower than those of Mercedes.

BMW and Audi haven’t released their full-year 2011 results yet. Daimler has about 271,000 employees around the world. Nearly 168,000 of this figure are based in Germany. But for 2012, Daimler wants to increase this number. Porth said that the increase this year will not be as drastic as in 2011 when it had 14,000 new workers. Daimler pledged to take back the top luxury-car position from BMW after falling in 2011 to third place behind Audi.

Read the entire article Daimler will not slash its workforce to close the gap with Bmw and Audi

BMW Group is increasing the number of apprenticeships in the United Kingdom available through its company and dealership schemes this year to around 200. The intake will double this year to 70 locations at MINI's three production sites all over the nation as the facilities prepare for the next model generation.

Additionally, MINI and BMW dealerships are seeking to recruit 130 young individuals across the country. MINI Plant Oxford has 35 positions available, with 24 at the Hams Hall engine plant near Birmingham and 11 at the Plant Swindon pressings facility.

The duration for apprenticeships will be between three and four years. The program encompasses a wide array of skills from business and human resources to engineering and electrical maintenance. It leads to an NVQ level three qualification. Some apprentices will have the chance to proceed to degree level in the course of their career at MINI. MINI and BMW dealerships in the country will be having about 130 apprentices this year.

Read the entire article BMW raises number of UK apprenticeships to around 200 this year

Two hundred jobs will be created at Volkswagen AG’s new plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., under its plan to increase its production volume for the VW Passat by 13%. From 31 redesigned Passats every hour, the plant intends to produce 35 units hourly. VW asserted that the new jobs will be included in the two shifts at the plants and will represent full-time employment. The facility currently has a staff of 2,000 workers while 500 are employed by Aerotek, its staffing partner.

Volkswagen said that it is looking for people to be placed in production as well as those who would serve as its engineers and supervisors.

The plant, which cost $1 billion to build, is at the center of a plan to increase the yearly sales of the VW brand in the U.S. to 800,000 by the year 2018. Last year, its sales reached 324,402 units, about 26% higher than the 256,830 units sold in 2010. The overall market had a 10% increase.

Read the entire article Vw to create 200 jobs at its Chattanooga plant to cope with the demand

Porsche is looking for more engineers to boost its car development and keep up with investments in new models. Wolfgang Hatz, Porsche’s R&D chief, told Automotive News Europe that the company’s rapid growth prompted the carmaker to hire 300 engineers in 2011. But Porsche will hire 300 more engineers this year, on top of the 3,500 employees working at the company’s Weissach development center.

The carmaker is spending big time for development of new models, allocating more than 10% of its revenue for R&D, Hatz said. Porsche will be launching its Boxster, 911 convertible and Panamera GTS this year, and the Cayman, the 918 Spyder and the Cajun compact SUV in 2013.

Porsche is currently under a joint development agreement with Volkswagen Group, ahead of its planned merger. The companies have agreed to jointly build the Porsche Cayenne, VW Touareg and Audi Q7 on the same platform. Hatz said the technologies used in the joint agreement will provide good opportunities for a single development approach.

Read the entire article Porsche to hire 300 engineers to boost research, development