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Ford Europe to slash thousands of jobs in turnaround plan

Ford's European division employs 53,000 people and has struggled to turn a profit, reporting a $282 million loss in the third quarter.
Image: Ford Production Line
An employee walks past the engine production line at the Ford factory in Dagenham, England on January 13, 2015.Carl Court / Getty Images file
/ Source: Reuters

Ford said on Thursday it will cut thousands of jobs, exit unprofitable markets and discontinue loss-making vehicle lines as part of a turnaround effort aimed at achieving a 6 percent operating margin in Europe.

The carmaker is under pressure to restructure its European operations after archrival General Motors raised profits by selling its European Opel and Vauxhall brand to France's Peugeot.

Ford said it will seek to exit the multivan segment, stop manufacturing automatic transmissions in Bordeaux in August, review its operations in Russia, and combine the headquarters of Ford U.K. and Ford Credit to a site in Dunton, Essex.

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

Ford's announcement on layoffs came as Britain's biggest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover is also set to announce "substantial" job cuts in the thousands, a source told Reuters.

Ford Europe, which currently employs 53,000 people, has struggled to turn a profit, reporting a $282 million loss before interest and taxes in the third quarter.

Armstrong declined to quantify the scale of job cuts, pending negotiations with labor leaders, but said staff reductions would run into the "thousands."

"Ford aims to achieve the labor cost reductions as far as possible through voluntary employee separations in Europe," the carmaker said in a statement on Thursday.

Armstrong said the company is in negotiations with worker representatives about potential job cuts at its Saarlouis plant in Germany, where 6,190 staff assemble cars, as the carmaker considers discontinuing production of its Ford C-Max model.

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.