Ford to cut thousands of jobs in Europe under plan to slash costs

Thursday 10th January 2019 17:30 GMT

The car-maker plans to consolidate its UK headquarters and Ford Credit Europe's headquarters at its Dunton technical centre in South East Essex.

It employs 13,000 in the UK, including two engine plants in Bridgend and Dagenham, and is in talks with unions.

Steven Armstrong, Ford's group vice president, warned the company would have to make further cuts in the case of a hard Brexit.

"If Brexit went in the wrong direction we would need to take another look to mitigate the impact of that - we will take whatever action is needed. Nothing is off the table," Mr Armstrong said.

The company hopes to eliminate $14bn (£11bn) in costs globally, excluding the United States. It plans to cut the number of vehicles in its line-up and introduce more electric and hybrid options.

Like many of its rivals, Ford has been caught out by a fall in the sale of diesel cars after VW's emission cheating scandal. It has also made a loss over the past two years in a competitive European market.

Losses at its European business widened to $245m during the third quarter from $192m a year earlier.

The announcement came on the same day that Jaguar Land Rover also announced 4,500 job cuts.

:: Analysis - What's behind JLR and Ford job losses?

Rival General Motors upped sticks and sold its loss-making Opel-Vauxhall business to PSA, the owner of the Peugeot brand.

"We are taking decisive action to transform the Ford business in Europe," Mr Armstrong said.

"We will invest in the vehicles, services, segments and markets that best support a long-term sustainably profitable business, creating value for all our stakeholders and delivering emotive vehicles to our customers."

While Mr Armstrong would not be drawn on specific numbers of jobs it plans to cull, or the "thousands" he was quoted as saying in the Financial Times, it is ceasing production at a plant in Bordeaux, France, and is in talks with unions to end production of the C-MAX at its Saarlouis factory in Germany.

Together, the plants employ more than 7,000 people.

It is also undertaking a review of its joint venture in Russia.

"Working collectively with all stakeholders, our new strategy will enable us to deliver a more focused line up of European-built passenger vehicles, while growing our import and commercial vehicle businesses - for a healthier and more profitable business," Mr Armstrong said.

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