Ford will eliminate about 20 percent of the workforce across its European operations in a sweeping overhaul that reflects the challenges facing automakers in the region.
The restructuring, which has been announced piecemeal, will involve reducing its manufacturing footprint in Europe to 18 facilities by the end of 2020 from 24 at the beginning of this year.
Germany, the UK and Russia will be hardest hit by the cuts, which total about 12,000 staff and workers employed at joint ventures, Ford said Thursday.
“Separating employees and closing plants are the hardest decisions we make,” Stuart Rowley, Ford’s president of Europe.
Ford, struggling in the region’s crowded and mature market for years, has been particularly hard hit by falling car sales in the UK as a result of the uncertainty surrounding the country’s exit from the European Union.
The challenge of investing in electric, hybrid and autonomous vehicles — while having to overhaul combustion engines to meet tougher clean-air rules — has forced Europe’s automakers to slash fixed costs and streamline their model portfolios. For example, Ford has or will cut the C-Max and Grand C-Max minivans and the Ka+ small car.