Germany's third largest automotive supplier ZF plans to cut up to 15,000 jobs in the coming years. The Südkurier and the Saarbrücker Zeitung report this, citing an internal letter from the ZF Executive Board to the workforce. "From today's perspective, we will have to adjust our capacities and cut 12,000 to 15,000 jobs worldwide by 2025, about half of them in Germany," it says. A company spokesman did not want to comment on the reports.

As a result, details would be negotiated with employee representatives in the next few weeks. The chairman of the ZF works council, Achim Dietrich, was "as surprised as the workforce". The general works council was informed of the plans by the board only on Wednesday. "We continue to work on short-time work and fight for every employee," said Dietrich. 

The executive board justifies the plans for the staff reduction with the loss of income as a result of the Corona crisis. According to Dietrich, the group management is preparing for a 25 percent drop in sales over the entire year. The letter to the ZF employees states that the reason is the "freeze in demand on the customer side". Previous measures, such as short-time working at ZF until June, were not sufficient because the crisis would last longer. "In the short term, the company will need additional employee contributions in order to cope with 2020." The concrete plans are to be decided by August at the latest.

Car production slumped by a third in March

At the beginning of the year, ZF employed 148,000 people worldwide, 51,000 of them in Germany. However, operational layoffs are excluded at most locations until the end of 2022. ZF was already struck last year, the supplier's profits fell by almost two thirds to EUR 350 million. Due to the corona virus pandemic, parts of production and administration have now been "shut down in a controlled manner" in order to respond to the lack of demand from the automotive industry.

The automotive industry is suffering particularly badly from the Corona crisis worldwide. In Germany alone, passenger car production in March fell by 37 percent compared to the same month in the previous year, as the Federal Statistical Office announced. Overall, the production of motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts fell to almost half of the value in July 2017.

The German automobile manufacturers are therefore asking the federal government for support in the form of a premium for buying a car, but the claim is very controversial within the grand coalition. There had also been a lot of criticism in the Union’s Bundestag faction about promoting one-sided automobile purchases. It's different in France, for example. There, President Emmanuel Macron recently announced an aid package of eight billion euros for the auto industry. Among other things, it includes an increased subsidy for the purchase of electric vehicles.

Corona crisis - car industry receives no quick economic stimulus The consultation with industry representatives would continue until the beginning of June, reports the Federal Government. Climate protesters oppose a car premium. © Photo: Reuters TV