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Ford to cut jobs, discard loss-making vehicles to survive in Europe

Ford's announcement on layoffs came as Britain's biggest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is also set to announce 'substantial' job cuts

Reuters  |  Frankfurt 

Ford

Ford said on Thursday it will cut thousands of jobs, look at plant closures and discontinue loss-making vehicle lines as part of a turnaround effort aimed at achieving a 6 percent operating margin in

has been losing money for years and pressure to restructure its operations has increased since arch-rival raised profits by selling its European and Vauxhall brands to France's Peugeot SA.

Ford said it will seek to exit the multivan segment and focus on developing more profitable "crossover" and sports utility vehicles, and will stop manufacturing automatic transmissions in Bordeaux in August. It will also review its operations in Russia, and combine the headquarters of and to a site in Dunton,

"We are taking decisive action to transform the Ford business in Europe," Steven Armstrong, group vice president, Europe, and Africa, said in a statement.

"We want to be a net contributor of capital and not a net detractor," Armstrong told journalists on a later call, referring to Europe's financial contribution to U.S. parent

Asked whether the revamp could include plant closures in Europe, Armstrong said: "A review of the is part of this process."

Ford's announcement on layoffs came as Britain's biggest carmaker (JLR) is also set to announce "substantial" job cuts, a source told

Armstrong said any layoffs and plant closures at Ford would be subject to the outcome of formal negotiations with labour representatives, adding that he hoped that job cuts could be achieved by "voluntary means".

Unite, Britain's biggest trade union said it was engaging with Ford in an effort to safeguard jobs.

The cost-cutting plan has not been adjusted to account for the possibility of a 'hard' exit by Britain from the without securing tariff-free cross-border trade, Armstrong said.

"If Brexit went in the wrong direction we would have to have another look, to mitigate that," Armstrong said. A Ford spokesman said the carmaker currently assumes that any Brexit deal would keep tariff-free trade between Britain and

Ford Europe, which employs 53,000 people, has struggled to turn a profit, reporting a 245 million euro ($282 million) loss before interest and taxes in the third quarter, equivalent to a negative 3.3 percent EBIT margin.

Armstrong declined to quantify the job cuts, pending negotiations with labour leaders, but said they would run into the thousands.

The company was in negotiations with worker representatives about potential cuts at its in Germany, where 6,190 staff assemble cars, as the carmaker considers discontinuing production of its model.

"We will migrate out of the MPV segment," Armstrong said, referring to the family vans segment.

The company is unlikely to develop next-generation diesel engines for smaller vehicles, Armstrong said, explaining that customers have been abandoning the segment more aggressively than anticipated.

Going forward Ford will seek to offer an electric or hybrid version of all its vehicles and the electrification plans are not contingent on striking a deal with Volkswagen, Armstrong said.

The carmaker continues talks about a far-reaching alliance with in a deal that could increase Ford's in commercial vehicles, Armstrong said.

and Ford will unveil an expanded alliance during the auto show, which starts next week, that goes beyond cooperating in the area of commercial vehicles, two sources familiar with the discussions said on Wednesday.

($1 = 0.8678 euros)

 

 

First Published: Thu, January 10 2019. 18:52 IST
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