Ford to cut jobs, discard loss-making vehicles to survive in Europe

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Ford plans to cut 1,150 jobs in Britain, a union announced on Friday (Jan 11), one day after the U.S. auto giant unveiled a major restructuring of its European operations.

Ford of Europe's central aim, Armstrong says, is to deliver a pre-tax operating profit of 6 percent for the longer term as a way of building a sustainable business that now employs 53,000 people across its 50 markets.

Ford also plans to consolidate its United Kingdom headquarters and Ford Credit Europe's headquarters at the Ford Dunton Technical Center in South East Essex.

"We will take effective measures to the European business of Ford to set up new", said Europa chief Steven Armstrong.

"The plan will result in fewer jobs - both hourly and salaried - but it is premature to speculate on how many as we have just begun discussions with our Works Council and union partners", the company said in a statement on Thursday.

Armstrong said any layoffs and plant closures at Ford would be subject to the outcome of formal negotiations with labour representatives, adding that he hoped that job cuts could be achieved by "voluntary means".

Going forward Ford will seek to offer an electric or hybrid version of all its vehicles and the electrification plans are not contingent on striking a deal with Volkswagen, Armstrong said.

Unions have pledged to fight compulsory redundancies at the vehicle giant's plant in Bridgend after they were briefed by Ford management on Friday.

Armstrong also said the company would focus on its most appealing models and exit its less profitable models.

"Brexit is another factor, with businesses increasingly concerned about the prospect of a "no deal" Brexit, which would mean tighter border controls", he said.

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. Ford SUV sales - comprising EcoSport, Kuga and Edge - hit a record high in 2018, surpassing a quarter million vehicles sold for the first time.

Like many of its rivals, Ford has been caught out by a fall in the sale of diesel cars after VW's emission cheating scandal.

Volkswagen AG, which is in talks with Ford about a deeper alliance, said Thursday its namesake brand will redouble its focus on returns amid another year of "enormous challenges", foreshadowing more belt-tightening.

Profits at Ford of Europe fell 82 percent past year, in part due to the fall in the value of the pound as a result of uncertainty over Brexit.

"If Brexit went in the wrong direction we would have to have another look, to mitigate that", Mr Armstrong said.

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

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