Shortly before Christmas, luxury car maker BMW cut a few thousand jobs, and now the company is tightening its belt again, announcing Wednesday that it plans to lay off more than 8,000 workers. About 2,5000 of the jobs are permanent positions in Germany, plus 5,000 temporary jobs and several hundred positions in other countries. For remaining employees, workday hours will be extended and bonuses reduced.
BMW says the downward spiral of the US dollar and the rising cost of raw materials are to blame for the layoffs. Two-thirds of the company's cars are produced in Germany, and three-quarters of their employees are paid in euros – costs which can't be supported in sales overseas with current exchange rates. On Wednesday the euro rose above $1.50, a record high.
The layoffs seem untimely with BMW expected to announce record-high profits of 3.7 billion euros for 2007.