Ford shedding thousands of jobs in Europe

JLR and Ford prepare for mass job cuts

USA carmaker Ford said on Thursday that it plans a major restructuring of its European operations, including job cuts, to boost profitability.

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

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".

Exact details are yet to be outlined and Ford, which sold nearly 7mln cars around the world in 2017, said it would talk to unions about reducing costs.

Shares of Ford dropped more than 2% to $8.51 just after Thursday's opening bell.

"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".

Apart from the job cuts, the Dearborn, Michigan-based company also plans to shut down a few of its plants.

The company's new plans follow moves to close an automatic transmission plant in Bordeaux, combine administrative headquarters in Britain and end production of its C-Max models in Saarlouis, Germany.

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Discussions on autonomous vehicle development and sharing Volkswagen's MEB electric vehicle platform are said to be on-going.

"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 Ford Motor. He said that business changes could be "significantly more dramatic" regarding the company's United Kingdom plants in the event the country crashes out of the bloc without a deal - a scenario that could see, among other things, tariffs imposed on goods traded and widespread disruption at ports. May be there will be plant closures. The carmaker is in talks with different workers" unions and it is not known how many jobs will be concerned but "thousands' have been cited by Steven Armstrong, President, Ford Europe.

Ford is also in talks with worker groups over the possibility of eliminating the production of two small minivan models now manufactured in Germany.

Tata Motors Ltd.'s Jaguar Land Rover, formerly part of Ford, plans to cut as many as 5,000 jobs in the U.K., BBC reported.

Mr Armstrong declined to say how many jobs will be cut, but he said the impact will be "significant".

Ford confirmed it will get out of the family vans or MPV segment.

Sources have told Reuters a global commercial vehicle alliance with Volkswagen could be announced as early as the Detroit motor show, which kicks off next week. Ford SUV sales - comprising EcoSport, Kuga and Edge - hit a record high in 2018, surpassing a quarter million vehicles sold for the first time.

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