Ford confirms 12,000 job cuts in Europe, six plant closures

Phoebe Wall Howard
Ford confirms 12,000 job cuts in Europe, six plant closures

Ford Motor Co. promised Thursday to stem the bleeding of its overseas operation with 12,000 confirmed job cuts, factory closures and a more profitable business model with more electric vehicles in Europe.

The plan includes at least three new vehicles in the next five years and a leaner organization “as part of the most comprehensive redesign in the history of its business in Europe," Ford said in a statement.

The automaker has been under pressure from investors and analysts to cut costs from its bloated European operation.

Ford said its cuts include previously announced, proposed or planned closure or sale of six assembly and component manufacturing plants by the end of next year:

  • Proposed closure of Bridgend Engine Plant in South Wales
  • Closure of Ford Aquitaine Industries Transmission Plant in France
  • Closure of Naberezhnye Chelny Assembly, St. Petersburg Assembly and Elabuga Engine Plant in Russia
  • Sale of the Kechnec Transmission Plant in Slovakia to Magna
Ford Motor Company CEO Jim Hackett poses for a photo in the Henry Ford II World Center in Dearborn on Wednesday, February 20, 2019.

Ford will reduce its manufacturing presence in Europe to a proposed 18 facilities by the end of 2020, from 24 at the beginning of 2019. In the U.K., the Ford of Britain and Ford Credit Europe headquarters in Warley also will close later this year, with operations consolidated in Dunton.

In addition, Ford said it is implementing shift reductions at its assembly plants in Saarlouis, Germany, and Valencia, Spain, as well as a leaner management structure and marketing and sales operations.

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Overall, approximately 12,000 jobs will be impacted at Ford’s wholly owned facilities and consolidated joint ventures in Europe by the end of 2020, primarily through voluntary separation programs, the company confirmed Thursday. Around 2,000 of those are salaried positions, which are included among the 7,000 salaried positions Ford is reducing globally.

“Separating employees and closing plants are the hardest decisions we make, and in recognition of the effect on families and communities, we are providing support to ease the impact,” Rowley said. “We are grateful for the ongoing consultations with our works councils, trade union partners and elected representatives. Together, we are moving forward and focused on building a long-term sustainable future for our business in Europe."

The company said it is creating three new business groups – commercial vehicles, passenger vehicles and imports – to “facilitate fast decision-making” that benefits the customer.

Ford promised to deliver a comprehensive line-up of electrified vehicles for European customers with battery electric vehicles assembled in Europe.

Follow Detroit Free Press reporter Phoebe Wall Howard on Twitter @phoebesaid.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Ford confirms 12,000 job cuts in Europe, six plant closures