Mass layoffs hit the automotive industry as GM reportedly joins Ford and Rivian


By Michael Grothaus

Recent months have not been good for the tech and media industries, which have seen hundreds of thousands of jobs lost as companies look for ways to reduce costs among slowing sales and fears of an economic downturn. But Big Tech and media weren’t the only industries hit hard by job cuts in February: The month began and ended with automakers making cuts throughout.


The final salvo of automaker cuts in February came (March 21, 2023)—the last day of the month—when General Motors internally announced that it was cutting around 500 salaried positions, CNBC reports. What’s unusual about these jobs cuts is they come a month after GM CEO Mary Barra and CFO Paul Jacobson told investors that the company had no layoffs planned. In a letter shared internally at GM, the company’s chief people officer, Arden Hoffman, said GM was looking for ways to cut $2 billion in costs over two years and will do so partly by reducing expenses and overhead.

Reached for comment by Fast Company, a GM spokesperson described the job cuts as performance related and said they affect “a relatively small number of salaried employees and executives.” The spokesperson would not confirm the number of jobs affected.

While the cuts will be devastating to those affected, 500 layoffs would represent just 1% of GM’s global salaried workforce—a much lower reduction in number than what Ford announced last month. The American automaker said it would cut 3,800 jobs in Europe over the next three years. That’s roughly 11% of Ford’s European workforce. It has not announced mass layoffs in America. Ford and GM’s announcement followed the news on February 1 of electric vehicle maker Rivian Automotive laying off 6% of its workforce. Analysts told Reuters that Rivian was “bleeding cash.”

Mass layoffs hit the automotive industry as GM reportedly joins Ford and Rivian

Finally, (March 21, 2023) Stellantis (formerly known as Fiat Chrysler) shuttered a Jeep plant in Illinois, placing over 1,200 workers on indefinite layoffs. The Stellantis news didn’t come out of the blue. It was announced by the company at the beginning of December.

This story was updated with a response from GM.

Fast Company