Ford will shed thousands of jobs at its UK and mainland European operations in a bid to return the business to profitability, in a broad restructuring that may involve closing production plants.
According to the BBC, it is expected the turnaround plan will lead to thousands of job losses across Europe, including the UK – although cuts at its UK factories are not thought to be imminent.
In a statement on Thursday (reported by Automotive News Europe), Ford said it will seek to exit the multivan segment, review its operations in Russia, and combine the headquarters of Ford UK and Ford Credit to a location in Dunton, Essex.
“We are looking to make a step-change in the performance of the business,” said Steve Armstrong, Ford’s head of Europe. “There will be significant impact across the region. We will be looking at all options,” which could include plant closures, he said.
“A review of the manufacturing footprint is part of this process,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong dd mention that should the UK leave the EU without a negotiated deal, a further review of UK operations would be necessary.
This is not a consequence of the Brexit situation,” he said. “This is not a one or two-year issue.”
He added: “If Brexit goes in the wrong direction and we have a hard Brexit, we would need to look again about what we could do to mitigate the impact of that [in the UK].”
He said potential closure of plants would “not be off the table”.
Ford is now going to speak to unions about measures to reduce costs.
The announcement is likely to renew concerns about the long-term future of the Bridgend plant, which is already due to lose a major contract to build engines for Jaguar Land Rover in 2020.
Profits at Ford of Europe fell by 82% in 2018, in part due to the fall in the value of the pound, due to uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
Ford of Europe has 54,000 employees, with 13,000 in the UK. As well as the UK engine plants, it has other operations in Germany, France, Turkey, Spain, Russia, Romania, and Belgium.
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