Stellantis announces hundreds of layoffs for white collar workers during 'mass firing' call

A mechanical engineer knew something was wrong when the rumor mill at work began to spin: layoffs were incoming. 

They had begun to trickle into the office a couple of weeks ago. Then, around 8 p.m. on Thursday, about 400 workers at Stellantis got an email telling them not to come into the office on Friday. 

Instead, it would be a mandatory remote work day. They were also told to attend an operational meeting at a designated time. That's when the news dropped.

"It was a mass firing of everybody that was on the call," the employee said.

The individual, who FOX 2 is not naming, is among several who talked to the station about the hundreds of firings. 

Stellantis declined to speak about the story, but they did release a statement saying "these actions will better align resources while preserving the critical skills needed to protect our competitive advantage as we remain laser focused on implementing our EV product offensive and our Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan."

But the fired workers aren't sure that's the reason.

The unnamed engineer said there are "tons" of positions the company has outsourced to India, Mexico, and Brazil. 

"So they continue to push low-cost countries are more efficient for the company and more profitable," he said.

According to Jeff Gilbert, an automotive reporter for WWJ, the workers are likely victims of an industry caught at a crossroads.

"The auto industry is making a lot of money, but it's facing a lot of challenges," he said. "You've got the electrification situation, which is going to cost car-makers a lot of money. You've got the new UAW contract, which is also costing carmakers a lot of money. So it's not only Stellantis. Everybody is looking at the bottom line."

Ford and General Motors, the other two Detroit automakers also wiggling through the transition, have made similar moves, he said.

MORE: UAW strike aftermath: Car prices may increase due to Big Three losses

However, Gilbert also said the actions aren't reflective of the broader automotive economy.

"There is no talk about a downturn in the economy. This is about all the other costs related to things like electrification, things like new technology,"

In Stellantis' statement, it confirmed it was firing about 2% of its engineering, technology, and software organizations in the U.S. They take effect on March 31. 

The layoffs will include a separation package and transition assistance.