Europe Just Got Hit With a Massive Wave of Auto Job Cuts

Frederick Owens
January 10, 2019

The company has opened a £1bn plant to Slovakia where it now employs 1,500 people.

Meanwhile, Ford Europe announced today it will be cutting thousands of jobs from its workforce, which now totals 53,000; 24,000 of those workers are based in Germany.

The turnaround plan hinges around 2.5 billion pound cash savings, which will be materialised by cutting costs and improving cash flows.

Trade tensions between the United States and China have made Chinese consumers more cautious.

The electric cars will be built at its Wolverhampton engine plant and it will create a new battery assembly centre at Hams Hall near Birmingham as it develops a greener range of cars. That move will cost 1,200 jobs.

Jaguar Land Rover Chief Executive Ralf Speth said he had serious concerns about the impact of a hard Brexit but it was not possible to predict what steps might be required if that happens.

And Ford signalled "significant" cuts among its 50,000 European workforce under plans to make it more competitive and make its business more sustainable.

"Unite will continue to press the auto maker for assurances over the jobs and skills of our members who have worked tirelessly over the past decade to make the company the global success story it is today".

Hundreds of Wolverhampton JLR workers were sent home on full pay in the run-up to Christmas, as production was slowed down in the wake of falling sales, while around 200 jobs were axed in Solihull.

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Steven Armstrong, Ford's European group vice president, said the company was taking "decisive action" to transform its European business.

The savings and "cashflow improvements" will be made over the next 18 months and the new job losses are in addition to 1,500 workers who left the company a year ago. The European Union has set lower limits for vehicle carbon dioxide emissions from 2021 that are pushing carmakers to include more electric vehicles in their future sales mix.

Mr Armstrong said Ford was making "tough" decisions by undertaking a "complete review" of its European operations.

A Ford spokesman said the vehicle maker now assumes that any Brexit deal would keep tariff-free trade between Britain and Europe.

At the time, it did not say how many jobs would be lost, although the Financial Times reported in December up to 5,000 jobs could go.

"Britain's vehicle workers have been caught in the crosshairs of the Government's botched handling of Brexit, mounting economic uncertainty and ministers' demonisation of diesel, which along with the threat of a no-deal Brexit, is damaging consumer confidence".

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is expected to announce plans to cut thousands of jobs as part of a £2.5bn plan to reverse losses.

The FT reported that Ford's job losses will come as it bids to cut $14bn globally.

Most recently it announced it would move all production of the Land Rover Discovery to a new plant in Slovakia with plans to hire up to 3,000 workers.

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