Ford to cut European jobs, focus on electric vehicles

Source: By Associated Press • Posted: Monday, January 14, 2019

Ford Motor Co. said yesterday it is cutting jobs in Europe as it reshapes its business to focus on more profitable commercial trucks and SUVs while shifting production to electric cars over the longer term.

On a day that Jaguar Land Rover also announced it is cutting 4,500 jobs worldwide, Ford said its move aims to increase near-term profitability while getting the company ready for changes in the years ahead.

The Dearborn, Mich.-based company didn’t reveal how many jobs would be cut and said reductions would be achieved as far as possible through voluntary departures negotiated with unions and employee representatives.

The company said it plans to drop unprofitable models, on top of already announced plans to close an automatic transmission plant in Bordeaux, combine administrative headquarters in Britain and end production of its C-Max vans in Saarlouis, Germany.

Global automakers must adjust to sweeping change expected from a move toward battery-powered and autonomous vehicles, and toward providing transportation as a service through ride-hailing and car-sharing smartphone apps.

General Motors Co. said in November it would lay off 14,000 factory and white-collar workers in North America and put five plants up for possible closure as it restructures to cut costs and focus more on autonomous and electric technology. Volkswagen has said it will see an unspecified number of job reductions as it changes three plants in Germany to production of electric vehicles, but assures there will be no involuntary departures before 2028.

Meanwhile, Jaguar Land Rover says it will cut 4,500 jobs as the carmaker addresses slowing demand in China and growing uncertainty about the U.K.’s departure from the European Union.

Ford said yesterday that from now on every model will have a battery version, whether a hybrid that combines internal combustion and battery power or a battery-only version. The European Union has set lower limits for vehicle carbon dioxide emissions from 2021 that are pushing carmakers to include more electric vehicles in their future sales mix. The carbon dioxide reductions are part of the effort to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

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