Continental Automotive to slash 7,150 jobs in R&D and administration

German automotive supplier has finally announced it will slash 7,150 jobs in its car division, of which around 5,400 jobs are in the administrative areas and a further 1,750 in research and development. That reduces roughly 3.6 percent of the German supplier’s global workforce.

In November, Continental said there would be job cuts in 2024, but at that time, a figure of 5,500 circulated without being confirmed. Now it’s clear that the figure will be higher to cut costs in administration by roughly €400 million, but also by streamlining R&D and gradually lowering the budget to 9% of sales by 2028 from 12% foreseen in 2024.

What about the Belgian factory?

Continental’s automotive sector employs about 25,000 people for a total of 200,000 in the whole group and specializes in technologies for passive safety, brakes (by wire systems), chassis, motion, and motion control systems.

A factory in Mechelen, Belgium, employs 360 people to produce electronic brake and wheel sensors for passenger cars. This unit, Continental says, is a pioneer in cloud-based access and telemetry for car rental and car-sharing companies, enabling companies to manage their fleets efficiently without physical keys. Whether the Belgian factory will see job cuts is not known yet.

Continental says in a press release it will simplify and streamline its business and administrative structures to reduce costs by €400 million per year from 2025. The measures will affect around 5,400 jobs worldwide and will be implemented in the most socially responsible way possible, the company promises.

Streamlining R&D

New is the announcement of 1,750 jobs to be cut in R&D. “By the end of 2025 at the latest, a number of the group sector’s 82 current development locations will be streamlined, its existing infrastructures better utilized through the pooling of development units, and synergies in work processes leveraged.”

In Germany, 40% would be affected, with a consolidation of 17 locations in the Rhine-Main region and 380 jobs to disappear at software subsidiary Elektrobit. Where the other 60% compulsory redundancies will occur was not specified.

Other giants also affected

Continental isn’t the only German automotive supplier struggling with the industry’s shift away from combustion engines and toward electric vehicles, which requires a high upfront investment while reducing other costs by falling employment requirements.

Bosch is considering cutting up to 1,500 jobs in development, administration, and sales, too, a report in the specialized German magazine Automobilwoche revealed in December 2023. The cuts would likely impact workers at Bosch’s facilities in the southwestern German towns of Feuerbach and Schwieberdingen.

Still, Bosch said at that time it remains committed to the deal reached with labor representatives last summer, which rules out compulsory redundancies for about 80,000 employees in the automotive supply division in Germany until the end of 2027, she concluded.

That’s Germany only, as in Tienen, Belgium, the Bosch factory that makes wiper blades has already been cutting its workforce for an extended period now.

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