Ford to cut thousands of jobs in Europe

The Ford logo is seen at the New York Auto Show in New York

Ford to shift focus, cut jobs as European losses mount

"We believe Ford Europe could require as much as a 20 to 30 percent reduction of capacity and headcount", Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said in a note on Thursday. "There'll be significant impact across the region. We will be looking at all options", which could include plant closures.

Ford (F) has announced it will cut thousands of jobs as part of a restructuring plan to overhaul its European operations. "Nothing is off the table", Mr Armstrong said.

Ford's sales and profitability are strong in the United States, but the company is trailing competitors badly in China and continuing to struggle in Europe and Latin America.

Mr Armstrong said the company is in negotiations with worker representatives about potential job cuts at its Saarlouis plant in Germany.

The cost-cutting plan has not been adjusted to account for the possibility of a "hard" exit by Britain from the European Union without securing tariff-free cross-border trade, Armstrong said.

"If Brexit went in the wrong direction we would have to have another look, to mitigate that", Armstrong said. An improvement in management structure, announced in December, already is underway through Ford's redesign of its global salaried workforce, which the automaker says will improve the agility of the organization. Like many other carmakers, Ford has warned it won't meet its forecasts for 2018, and Chief Executive Officer Jim Hackett jettisoned a goal to reach an 8 per cent profit margin by 2020. The company did not give a time frame for the target.

Ford a year ago kicked off a company-wide US$11 billion restructuring after both Europe and Asia swung to losses and costs to invest in electric and self-driving vehicles mount.

Ford will instead focus on developing more profitable "crossover" vehicles, Mr Armstrong confirmed.

"We want to be a net contributor of capital and not a net detractor", Armstrong told journalists on a later call, referring to Europe's financial contribution to USA parent Ford Motor F.N .

Ford said Thursday 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 carmaker continues talks about a far-reaching alliance with Volkswagen in a deal that could increase Ford's manufacturing scale in commercial vehicles, Armstrong said.

The Ford logo is seen at the New York Auto Show in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 29, 2018.

The automaker, which now employs 53,000 people in Europe, has struggled to turn a profit, posting a 245 million euros ($282 million) loss before interest and taxes in the third quarter, widening from $192 million a year earlier, and equivalent to a negative 3.3 percent EBIT margin.

The company, which didn't specify the number of jobs it plans to cut, will seek to reduce European staff through voluntary measures as far as possible, the Dearborn, Michigan-based manufacturer said in a statement. It said its commercial vehicles business in Europe is "solidly profitable".

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