And it's probably going to get worse.
The auto industry as we know it is changing right before our eyes. The onset of electric vehicles, new mobility technologies, and, eventually, full self-driving capabilities will alter the automobile forever. Just like the horse was phased out a century ago as people's main mode of transportation, the automobile evolution is happening rapidly. These changes have already taken a financial toll on the auto industry itself, specifically for employees. Yahoo Finance reports that 2019 is set to be one of the worst years on record for the global car industry in regard to job losses.
Simply put, the industry requires fewer workers to build electric vehicles and automakers need to free up money for future EV-related investments. Because EVs have fewer components than their internal combustion counterparts, less manpower is required to build them.
A general downward turn in global auto sales also isn't helping things. In 2019 alone, over 80,000 job losses were announced, a majority in Germanu, the US, and the UK. The latter, of course, continues to face increased uncertainty over Brexit. Take last month for example.
More people in the UK lost their jobs in the manufacturing sector, of which the auto industry is one of the biggest players, than in any other month since September 2012. Last June, Ford shut down one of its UK plants and 1,700 jobs were lost. Honda also closed its huge UK plant, where the Honda Civic Hatchback is (or was) built, with another 3,500 jobs were cut. Jaguar Land Rover eliminated 4,500 jobs worldwide.
Audi also announced last month its intention to slash 9,500 jobs in Germany by 2025. Mercedes-Benz, at literally the same time as Audi, announced a 10,000 job cut in order to save money for future EV investments. In all likelihood, more job cuts are coming. Also earlier this month, Nissan USA announced a two-day unpaid furlough in January, as well as additional cuts on employee expenses. So far, no layoffs have been announced but they also haven't been entirely ruled out.
The Center of Automotive Management predicts as many as 150,000 auto industry jobs are at risk in the next few years.