Ford plans to cut more than 5 000 jobs in Germany and will reduce its workforce in Britain as it seeks to return to profit in Europe. The company has offered voluntary buy-outs for employees in Germany and Britain, Ford said in a statement. The cuts are part of a turnaround plan for Europe announced by Ford earlier this year. The plan will involve job cuts, looking at plant closures and discontinuing money-losing vehicle lines, Ford said.
“Through these programmes and other initiatives, Ford of Germany expects to reduce its headcount in excess of 5 000 jobs, including temporary staff,” the company said. The total number of positions affected in Britain is still to be determined, Ford said.
Ford also said it would streamline its line-up by “improving or exiting less profitable vehicle lines.” Ford builds a large proportion of its cars for Europe in high-wage Germany where it employs 24 000 people, plus temporary staff.
Ford employs about 53 000 people across Europe, with about 24 000 of them in Germany. The automaker has 18 000 employees in Cologne, the location of its European headquarters and a factory that builds the Fiesta subcompact hatchback. Another 6 000 are employed at its factory in Saarlous, where Ford builds the Focus compact hatchback and C-Max compact minivan. Its also has 200 staff at an engineering centre in Aachen.
The automaker is expected to end production of the C-Max compact minivan in Saarlous as it focuses on profitable SUVs and commercial vehicles. Ford is struggling with an ageing model line-up and a contracting market in the UK, its biggest in Europe, which is in store for further disruption from Brexit.
Ford Europe has been losing money for years and pressure to restructure its operations has increased since arch-rival General Motors raised profits by selling its European Opel and Vauxhall brands to France’s PSA Group. Ford’s turnaround plan is aimed at achieving a six percent operating margin in Europe.