Ford facilities around the globe may begin to feel the pinch of the current fuel crisis as cost-cutting begins in earnest. Gerhard Schmidt, Chief Technical Officer for Ford has confirmed that there will be a reduction in employees at the Ford Research Center in Germany (pictured), and that these layoffs may be precursors to other cost-cutting actions around the world.

Marcey Evans, Ford's spokeswoman, emphasized that Ford needed to "maintain an affordable business structure" and "concentrate on the things that are central" for Ford. While research and development budgets get tighter, Schmidt assured reporters that focus on the company's priorities of safety, quality, innovation and environmental sustainability would be prioritized, reports The Detroit News.

The German layoffs are expected to be small in comparison to the North American downsizing, and Evans distinguished the German layoffs as cost-cutting rather than downsizing. The North American downsizing taking place in the next few weeks will see 15% of Ford's salary-earning staff looking for new jobs, most of them in white-collar positions.

The extreme measures to save costs and restructure the corporation come after Ford's $2.7 billion dollar loss in 2007 and new estimates for when it would return to profitability, which was previously slated to be in 2009.