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Jan 11, 2019 | Europe

Ford to cut thousands of auto jobs in Europe

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters/Files
Kevin Lamarque/Reuters/Files

Ford has announced it will lay off thousands of people across Europe to boost profitability, and a restructuring of its European business could result in plant closures and the discontinuation of certain models, as consumers move away from diesel cars, and turn towards electric.

"We are taking decisive action to transform the Ford business in Europe," Ford's European president Steven Armstrong, said in a statement .

This comes as part of a company-wide restructuring as both Europe and Asia face losses and rising costs of electric vehicles.

Automakers worldwide are facing drops in sales in China, the world's biggest car market, and stagnation in Europe after years of increase.

Layoffs in France
Ford employs about 200,000 staff worldwide, 53,000 of them in Europe.

The company has already announced the end of its production of small automatic transmissions in Bordeaux. Production at the Ford Aquitaine Industries, which employs 850 people, will end in August 2019.

Armstrong said in a call with journalists that any additional layoffs and plant closures would be subject to negotiations with labour representatives.

In addition, he said any plans in Europe were based on a deal between Britain and the European Union to keep tariff-free trade between the two entities: "If Brexit went in the wrong direction we would have to have another look, to mitigate that.”

No more diesel
The job cuts come as Ford has seen a drop in demand for diesel cars , and European policymakers last month agreed to stricter pollution limits, forcing auto makers to invest more in electric and hybrid cars.

"In smaller vehicles the diesel decline is accelerating. It is unlikely that we will further develop small diesel engines for smaller passenger cars," Armstrong said.

The company said that "every Ford nameplate from the all-new Ford Focus onwards will include an electrified option".

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