Ford to cut jobs in European revamp

JLR and Ford prepare for mass job cuts

"This is not about making the business today more efficient but completely redesigning it", Ford's European president, Steve Armstrong, told the Financial Times.

The UK's biggest union Unite said it was working closely with Ford to safeguard jobs in the UK and look after the interests of employees.

The automaker, which employs some 54,000 workers across the region mainly in Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain, will also review its joint venture in Russian Federation, part of a host of measures that Steven Armstrong, Ford's head of Europe, called a "step-change in the performance of the business".

"Our support for the plant on its road to modernisation becomes even more critical in this context".

The plans are for two phases of cuts at Bridgend, achieved by 2021, sources said.

In the first nine months of 2018, Ford reported European losses of $199 million, compared to a profit of $278 million in the same period of 2017.

In China, demand was adversely impacted by consumer uncertainty following import duty changes and escalating trade tensions with the US.

On Thursday, Ford had signalled it would make "significant" cuts among its 50,000-strong European workforce under plans to make it more competitive. The company announced a restructuring of its business in Europe, which was associated with job losses in all areas.

"We will invest in the vehicles, services, segments and markets that best support a long-term sustainably profitable business", he said.

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Passenger Vehicles: Ford will establish a more targeted portfolio of European-built passenger vehicles focused on the quality, technology-rich and fun-to-drive DNA of the Ford brand, with the goal of building emotional connections with customers through sporty and progressive designs. It didn't say which models it would drop, but Armstrong said the profitable parts of the business were its SUVs and commercial vehicles.

"We are building an alliance with Ford which will strengthen Ford's position in Europe because we will share platforms", said VW CEO Herbert Diess to reporters.

'Unite is fully committed to opposing any compulsory redundancies and campaigning strongly for Bridgend to have a viable future.

"It is a devastating blow for our members and their families, as well as having grave implications for the Welsh economy and the supply chain", said Des Quinn, Unite's national officer for the automotive industry.

The announcement came on the same day that Jaguar Land Rover also announced 4,500 job cuts.

"This is not a effect of the Brexit situation", he said.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is set to confirm plans to cut thousands of jobs - affecting roles including administration, marketing and management.

Discussions on autonomous vehicle development and sharing Volkswagen's MEB electric vehicle platform are said to be on-going. The company already cut 1,000 jobs previous year, but new plans to improve cash flow by £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) include "substantial" cuts to employment that will run into the thousands, a source told Reuters, affecting managerial, research, sales and design staff, but not line workers.

Every Ford nameplate from the all-new Ford Focus onwards will include an electrified option.

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