Slow sales of small cars, electrics, and hybrids have prompted Ford to cut one shift at its Michigan Assembly Plant starting June 22. The move will affect approximately 675 hourly workers and 25 salaried employees, The Detroit News reports.
“Ford will be working to redeploy affected hourly employees and they will be considered first for southeast Michigan opportunities as they become available,” Ford told AUTOMOBILE in an emailed statement. Meanwhile, salaried workers will be transferred to other Ford plants. Over the coming months, many of the 700 workers will fill in as other employees take summer vacations.
A Ford spokesperson said the move was made due to an “industry-wide” slump in small-car and hybrid sales, due in part to falling gas prices. The Ford Focus, which is made at the Michigan Assembly plant, saw its sales drop 14.5 percent last month compared to the same time a year ago. That’s despite the fact that the model is newly refreshed for the 2015 model year, and that the electric version is now $6,000 cheaper. Sales of the C-Max Hybrid were also down 22.9 percent from last March.
But Ford isn’t the only automaker suffering from slow sales of its small cars. General Motors also recently announced layoffs at two Michigan plants due to the same problem. Sales of the Chevrolet Sonic subcompact hatch, for instance, plummeted 51.4 percent last month.
Ford’s decision to lay off hundreds of workers comes just days after the automaker announced it is preparing new plants in Mexico. Ford has committed to spending $2.5 billion in new facilities for fuel-efficient engines and automatic transmissions. That extra cash will add 3,800 more workers to the 11,300 people Ford already employs in Mexico.