Ford to restructure in Europe – three new nameplates in next five years, to axe 12,000 jobs by end-2020

Ford has announced plans to overhaul its European business in line with the company’s structural redesign globally, and the restructuring will cover organisational changes and revisions to its vehicle line-up and portfolio of manufacturing facilities.

The new operating model will see three customer-focused business groups being formed for commercial vehicles (CV), passenger vehicles (PV) and imports, and each division will have a dedicated management organisation – including leaders – responsible for marketing, manufacturing and product development.

The UK-based CV division, supported by the company’s strategic alliance with Volkswagen and a new Ford Otosan JV in Turkey, aims to double its profitability in Europe over the next five years. As for the passenger vehicles business, which will operate out from Cologne, Germany, it will concentrate on European PV development, with electrification set to feature heavily.

In the short term, under-performing models are set to be axed, and these include the C-Max, Grand C-Max and Ka+. Moving along, the company says that every PV nameplate will eventually include an electrified option, with closer-term models including the Fiesta, Focus, Kuga, Mondeo and new Puma. It added that a future family of battery electric vehicles will eventually come about.

The Imports group, meanwhile, will comprise a niche portfolio of iconic passenger vehicles including the Mustang and Explorer SUV as well as an all-new Mustang-inspired fully-electric performance utility that will arrive sometime in late 2020.

The all-electric Mustang utility is one to three new nameplates that the Blue Oval will introduce in Europe in the next five years – the other two are also SUV-based offerings, but parked under the passenger vehicle business. These introductions are in addition to the new Kuga, Puma and Explorer plug-in hybrid coming by early 2020.

The automaker is also streamlining its assembly and manufacturing facilities across the continent, bringing the number down to 18 from the 24 it has in place currently by the end of 2020. Among the facilities that will be closed are the Bridgend Engine Plant in South Wales and the Aquitaine Industries transmission plant in Bordeaux, France.

Also on the closure list are three manufacturing locations in Russia, the Ford Sollers Naberezhnye Chelny assembly plant and Elabuga engine plant in Tatarsan as well as the assembly plant near St. Petersburg. The sixth facility, the Kechnec transmission plant in Slovakia, will be sold to Magna.

Aside from the scaling back of its manufacturing facilities, Ford will also be closing its Ford of Britain and Ford Credit Europe headquarters in Warley, with UK operations to be consolidated in Dunton, which houses a large section of the Ford of Europe main design team. Additionally, shift reductions will take place at its assembly plants in Saarlouis, Germany, and Valencia, Spain.

The company says that as a result of this exercise, around 12,000 jobs will be cut from its European workforce by the end of 2020. Around 2,000 of these are salaried positions, which are included among the 7,000 jobs Ford is reducing globally.

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