Car giant Ford is set to axe thousands of jobs across Europe as it carries out a major shake-up of its operations.
It is not known precisely how many staff will lose their jobs, and while some of the 13,000 staff employed in the UK by the firm could be affected, most of the cuts are expected to be made outside of Britain.
The US-based company said it is shaking up its European arm in a bid to ‘sustainably’ boost profits and sharpen its competitive edge against rivals.
Job cuts: US-based car giant Ford is axing thousands of jobs across Europe
In a statement, Ford said: ‘Ford is entering into formal consultation with its Works Council and trade union partners, and is committed to working together with all key stakeholders to enable the new strategy.’
The group added: ‘Ford aims to achieve the labor cost reductions, as far as possible, through voluntary employee separations in Europe and will be working closely with social partners and other stakeholders to achieve this objective.’
Ford, which employs over 50,000 people across Europe, will not be publishing exact details of the job cuts until later this year.
But, within the UK, it is known that staff based at Warley in the West Midlands will move to Dunton in Essex. Ford employs 13,000 people in the UK, including two engine plants in Bridgend and Dagenham.
Outside of the UK, production at the Ford Aquitaine Industries plant in Bordeaux, France, which manufactures small automatic transmissions, will end in August this year.
The group added that ‘formal discussions’ had begun between Ford and its Works Council to end production of the C-MAX and Grand C-MAX at the Saarlouis Body and Assembly Plant in Germany as the compact MPV segment shrinks in Europe.
Outside of Europe, the firm is also undertaking a ‘strategic review’ of Ford Sollers, its joint venture in Russia.
Major employer: Ford employs over 50,000 people across Europe
Shifts: Staff based at Warley in the West Midlands will move to Dunton in Essex
Reasoning: The US-based company said it was shaking up its European arm in a bid to ‘sustainably’ boost profits
The major European shake-up follows plans announced last year to reduce white-collar jobs across the company’s global business.
Steven Armstrong, Ford’s European group vice president, said today that the company was taking ‘decisive action’ to transform its European business.
He 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.’
Mr Armstrong was quoted by the Financial Times as saying the number of layoffs would be in the ‘thousands’, but declined to repeat that quantity in a conference call with reporters, saying only that there would be a ‘substantial impact’ on the work force.
Transformation: Steven Armstrong, Ford’s European group vice president, said today that the company was taking ‘decisive action’ to transform its European business
As part of the transformation plans, new all-electric vehicles will be offered for all Ford models, while there will be a more ‘targeted’ line-up of models up for sale.
Mr Armstrong said Ford was making ‘tough’ decisions by undertaking a ‘complete review’ of its European operations.
He said the announcement was not directly linked to Brexit, but he added that Ford will have to undertake a further review if the UK leaves the EU without a deal in March.
Commenting on the plans announced today, Unite union national officer Des Quinn said: ‘Ford’s workforce in the UK is world-class in making and developing engines and gearboxes that are shipped all over the globe.
‘Unite is positively engaging with Ford over its plans as we seek to safeguard jobs and look after the interests of all the company’s employees in the UK.
‘We expect the immediate impact on Ford’s UK operations to be limited.’
Ford hopes to eliminate $14billion, or £11billion, in costs globally, excluding its operations in the US.
Over the last two years Ford has suffered an annual loss and has, as other car companies have, been hit by the fallout from VW’s diesel emissions scandal.
VW and Ford are already working with BMW and Daimler to develop a rapid electric vehicle charging network across Europe.
Earlier today, Jaguar Land Rover confirmed that it is axing 4,500 jobs, mainly in the UK, on the back of 1,500 job losses made at the firm last year.
Ralf Speth, chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover, said: ‘We are taking decisive action to help deliver long-term growth, in the face of multiple geopolitical and regulatory disruptions as well as technology challenges facing the automotive industry.’
Jaguar Land Rover pointed to a downturn in China and lower demand for the diesels which make up most of its products. In the UK, ‘continuing uncertainty related to Brexit’ was blamed.
Fiat Chrysler to fork out over $650m over emission scandal, source claims
Fiat Chrysler will pay more than $650million to settle allegations that it cheated on emissions tests involving more than 104,000 Jeep SUVs and Ram pickup trucks, a person with the knowledge of the settlement told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The Italian-American automaker will be required to pay around $311million in fines to the federal government and California regulators, according to the source.
Under the deal, the company will also need to pay about $280million to compensate vehicle owners – resulting in payouts of about $2,800 per owner – as well as another $72 million to settle claims made by other states, the source said.
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