Ford paves the way as the first automaker to allow 86,000 employees to work from home permanently

Ford logo
Ford’s new policy will be introduced in July.

  • Ford has become the first auto company to announce employees can work from home in the long-term.
  • The company will explore flexible arrangements from July, depending on individual responsibilities.
  • A survey showed 95% of employees wanted a hybrid form of working and felt more productive at home.
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Ford has become the first automobile company to shift towards remote working on a permanent basis, according to CNBC, with around 86,000 employees being allowed to work at least partially from home.

The policy is aimed at office workers rather than factory workers, who number around 100,000 and have largely returned to work.

Hybrid work plans and remote working will depend on individual and managerial responsibilities.

“The nature of the work we do really is going to be a guiding element,” chief people and employee experiences officer Kiersten Robinson told CNBC. “If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last 12 months, it is that a lot of our assumptions around work and what employees need has shifted.”

Ford’s new policy will be introduced in July when most employees are expected to make at least a partial return to the office after more than a year.

“The nature of work drives whether or not you can adopt this model. There are certain jobs that are place-dependent – you need to be in the physical space to do the job,” chairman and chief executive of Ford Land, David Dubensky, told The Washington Post.

“Having the flexibility to choose how you work is pretty powerful,” Dubensky added. “It’s up to the employee to have dialogue and discussion with their people leader to determine what works best.”

Remote work coronavirus
95% of Ford employees wanted a hybrid form of working.

According to a survey conducted at Ford in June 2020, 95% of employees wanted a hybrid form of working and a number of them felt more productive at home.

The move from Ford comes after major companies including Google, Spotify, and Salesforce all announced that they were offering their employees the option to work from home permanently.

A survey conducted in January by the National Association for Business Economics suggested just one in 10 companies expected employees to return to the office after the pandemic.

“These companies are all looking at each other,” associate professor at Michigan State University’s School of Human Resources and Labor Relations, Angela Hall, told The Detroit News. “And especially someone like Ford, who is a large, respected employer – people are going to model that behavior.”

The Washington Post also reported that General Motors and Toyota were looking at flexible options for a return to the office, although they are both yet to announce new policies.

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Daimler is converting its engine plant in Berlin into a digital campus and hundreds of jobs may be in danger

02 September 2020, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Sindelfingen: Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG speaks during the opening ceremony at the "Factory 56" plant. The new S-Class will be built in the new completely digitalized and networked factory.
Costing around $2.4 million, the conversion project could offer employees long-term prospects.

  • Daimler plans to close its oldest plant in Germany and make it digital, Handelsblatt reported.
  • The $2.4 million conversion is part of a cost-cutting scheme that will cut 20,000 jobs by 2025.
  • The future factory will focus on electromobility and will assemble smaller parts for electric cars.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Daimler is planning to gradually shut down its engine and transmission production plant in Berlin-Marienfelde and convert it into a digital campus, Handelsblatt reported.

The German factory opened in 1902 and is the oldest Daimler plant producing conventional combustion engines. Its closure will now put 2,500 jobs at risk at the Mercedes Benz parent company.

Costing around $2.4 million, the conversion project could, however, offer employees long-term prospects, as the future factory will focus on electromobility and will also assemble smaller parts for electric cars.

Daimler management and the works council in Berlin agreed to convert the factory into a “digital start-up factory with a series of state-of-the-art pilot lines and test cells,” the company announced Wednesday.

Assembly in the digital plant will be carried out using sensors and software applications, including the latest enhanced reality tools.

There will also be training sessions for representatives from over 30 international Mercedes factories.

Some of the technologies that will be used are already being used at Mercedes. For example, Daimler used the new MO360 ecosystem to produce the S-class.

Daimler is also investing in self-driving cars, teaming up with Alphabet’s Waymo. It is now backing a high-end car service that aims to compete with Uber and Lyft.

FILE PHOTO: A Mercedes-Benz Concept IAA car is displayed prior to the Daimler annual shareholder meeting in Berlin, Germany, April 6, 2016.  REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
Daimler plans to transform and put electric cars at the fore.

“We will significantly reduce the workforce,” a manager told Handelsblatt.

According to Daimler, however, its top priority is designing and implementing the project in a socially responsible way.

Jan Otto, chairman of IG Metall in Berlin, told Handelsblatt that the number of jobs to be cut had not yet been decided although the union is demanding that the Daimler plant in Marienfelde remains a production site.

According to Otto, Marienfelde could also be expanded again in the future, perhaps to produce battery systems or at least recycling batteries.

Daimler’s planned transformation from a hardware provider to a software-based company with electric cars at the fore is putting particular pressure on the group’s engine sites which still manufacture classic internal combustion engines.

Daimler CEO Ola Källenius is also pursuing a number of cuts across the board, particularly affecting engine locations.

The main plant in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim is being hit particularly hard by these cost-cutting measures, and thousands of jobs are to be cut at the plant by 2024.

Overall, Daimler plans to cut more than 20,000 of its 300,000 jobs worldwide by 2025.

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LG plans to invest $4.5 billion in US battery production to meet growing electric-vehicle demand, including building at least 2 factories

Denise Gray, president of LG Chem Michigan Tech Center.
Denise Gray, president of LG Chem Michigan Tech Center.

  • LG Chem plans to invest more than $4.5 billion in US battery production, a senior executive said.
  • The investment, over four years, would help meet growing electric vehicle demand, Denise Gray said.
  • This includes plans to create at least two new factories, and would create 4,000 new jobs.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

South Korea’s LG Energy Solution, a division of LG Chem which manufactures batteries, plans to invest more than $4.5 billion in its US battery production business over the next four years, a senior executive said.

This includes plans to build at least two new plants.

The company’s investment will result in an additional 70GWh of US battery production capacity to respond to growth in the electric vehicle market, Denise Gray, president of LG Energy Solution’s Michigan unit, said Thursday.

“We are eager to expand our production capacity so that it can meet the needs of the numerous global automakers across the US and Europe,” Gray said. “We are looking at at least two new factories in the US.”

Gray said the planned investment would create 4,000 new US jobs, more than doubling the current combined workforce of the LG Chem unit and its joint venture with General Motors in the country.

The company plans to select plant locations in the first half of the year, Gray said, adding their construction would create around 6,000 indirect jobs.

LG is already nearing completion of a cell manufacturing plant in Ohio with GM and the pair are in advanced talks to build a second facility in Tennessee. LG said on Friday the second plant would have a similar production capacity of around 35 GWh.

LG has been embroiled in a high-profile dispute with rival South Korean firm SK Innovation in the US after LG alleged that SK stole trade secrets.

The US International Trade Commission last month issued a 10-year order prohibiting most US imports of SK lithium-ion batteries. SK has lobbied the White House to overturn the ban, which could also be negated by SK and LG reaching an independent settlement.

LG Energy Solution Senior Vice President Chang Seung-se said the company’s latest US plans were unrelated and “more about (having a) very proactive and preemptive investment plan prior to confirmation of demand from our customers.”

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Jaguar Land Rover plans to go fully electric by 2039, and said it would spend $3.5 billion on the goal each year

2020 Land Rover Defender 110 SE.KL_50
2020 Land Rover Defender 110 SE.

  • Jaguar Land Rover plans to become net zero on carbon emissions by 2039, it announced Monday.
  • Vehicles across both Jaguar and Land Rover brands would go all-electric, it said.
  • The car maker, the UK’s biggest, will spend around £2.5 billion ($3.5 billion) on the goal each year, it said.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Luxury car group Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) unveiled plans to go all-electric on Monday, saying it aims to be net zero on carbon emissions by 2039, as it joined a global race to roll out clean-energy vehicles.

Land Rover will add six pure electric variants in the next five years and future Jaguar models would be built exclusively on a pure electric architecture, the British car giant said, adding that the first all-electric variant of Land Rover will debut in 2024.

By 2030, it is anticipated that 100% of Jaguar cars, and 60% of Land Rovers, will be equipped with zero-tailpipe powertrains, JLR said.

This feeds into its plans to become a net-zero-carbon business across its supply chain, products, and operations by 2039, it said.

Read more: One of Apple’s key execs might be moving to work on the tech giant’s electric vehicle project. Here are the 3 auto companies that are most likely to build the car, experts say.

The Tata Motors-owned group’s strategy comes as car groups worldwide accelerate moves towards fleets powered by electric and other green technologies.

Last month, General Motors said it aimed for all new cars, SUVs, and light pickup trucks to have zero-tailpipe emissions by 2035, a dramatic shift away from gasoline and diesel engines by the largest US automaker.

JLR is also preparing for the expected adoption of clean fuel-cell power, it said, and expected its prototypes to arrive on UK roads within the next 12 months.

To achieve this, it would work alongside other companies owned by Tata and would spend around £2.5 billion ($3.5 billion) on the project each year, including investments in electrification technologies, connected services, and data-centric technologies, it said.

Shares of parent company Tata Motors, based in India, jumped as much as 3% after the announcement.

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