The growing market for e-mobility is putting pressure on automotive suppliers: the Schaeffler industrial group will be cutting another 1,300 of its almost 83,000 jobs worldwide by 2026, 1,000 of them in Germany.
The company justified the measure with a faster transformation away from combustion engines to e-mobility than expected. "This is not a consequence of the increased energy costs or even the geopolitical situation, but of the transformation," said CEO Klaus Rosenfeld of the German Press Agency.
upheaval in the industry
The automotive and industrial supplier is one of the most prominent examples of the upheaval in the industry. It is the second transformation program within a short period of time at the Franconian group. In 2020, Schaeffler announced that it would cut 4,400 jobs. Plant closures are not planned this time.
The problem affects many in the industry. At ZF, Germany's number two in the industry, thousands of employees recently gave up part of their salaries at the Saarbrücken plant - in order to make the location future-proof in the transformation. ZF used to build transmissions at the Saarbrücken plant - electric cars no longer need them.
The other overarching problems are added - shortage of skilled workers, scarcity of raw materials, supply bottlenecks and galloping energy prices. Schaeffler therefore wants to increasingly switch from gas to electricity - and produce most of it itself.
According to Schaeffler, the job cuts, which are to be implemented in a socially responsible manner by 2026, will primarily affect the three locations in Herzogenaurach, Bühl in Baden and Homburg in Saarland. Three quarters of the jobs that would be lost would come from the areas of research and development of parts for combustion engines or from central functions. According to Rosenfeld, the program will cost 130 million euros and should save 100 million euros annually from 2026.
The drivers are China and the USA
The transformation to electric drives is going much faster than recently assumed, it said. Rosenfeld does not name European or even German politics as a driver. Rather, it is the developments on the large markets in China and the USA. In China, for example, approvals for combustion engines fell rapidly. In the USA, the already rapid development is being accelerated by the government's anti-inflation program. The two countries are among the largest sales markets for German car manufacturers.
Therefore, overcapacity would have to be reduced in order to remain competitive. At the same time, the development of new technologies is progressing. Rosenfeld named a new central laboratory in Herzogenaurach, a hydrogen center and a center for e-mobility as examples.
Overall sales increased
The order intake for solutions for e-mobility significantly exceeded expectations, he said. Orders worth 4.7 billion euros are currently on the books. Planned were 2 billion to 3 billion. Overall, the third quarter went well, mainly thanks to good business in the industrial sector, where Schaeffler produces drives for wind turbines, among other things. "On the automotive side, things are not quite as we would like them to be," said Rosenfeld. Compared to the same period of the previous year, sales increased by a total of 20.2 percent.
For the year as a whole, Schaeffler is sticking to its forecast of sales growth of six to eight percent. Last year, the company achieved an increase of 9.7 percent to 13.9 billion euros. After three quarters, Schaeffler is at 11.8 billion euros this year. At the same time, earnings before taxes, interest and special effects fell from 962 million to 813 million euros.