Ford Motors is laying off 700 workers at a Michigan assembly plant because of slow sales of the small cars and hybrids it makes.
The plant, in the Detroit suburb of Wayne, makes the Ford Focus and C-Max hybrid.
It is the one President Barack Obama visited in January to hail the resurgent US auto industry. But even during that visit, the plant was temporarily shut to prevent overproduction.
It’s the first time since 2009 that Ford has cut a shift at a US plant. Automakers have been in growth mode since the recession, adding thousands of workers to meet demand for new cars. Ford has added 14,000 workers to its US plants over the last four years. But as annual sales near their historic peak of 17 million, automakers aren’t going to keep seeing the same big sales gains.
Lower petrol prices also hurt sales of the fuel-efficient Focus and C-Max. Focus sales fell 6 per cent last year, and C-Max sales dropped 22 per cent.