Ford plans to lay off 12,000 employees across Europe, the company said on Thursday. It also says it will lessen the number of production facilities in Europe from 24 in early 2019 to 18 by the end of 2020.
Ford plans to closes factories in South Wales and France and three in Russia. And also sold a Slovak factory in Magna.
The 12,000 employees account for just fewer than 20% of Ford’s 65,000 European employees. Ford says most job losses are a voluntary departure. Approximately 2,000 of these layoffs will be paid to employees, as part of a 7,000 point reduction in Ford’s previously announced global payrolls.
Ford said job losses in Europe are imminent in January, but Thursday’s announcement marks the first time Ford has provided accurate information on the number of jobs to be cut and the choice of facilities.
The step is part of a massive restructuring of Ford’s operations. The chaos in the global trade system, from Donald Trump’s trade wars with Mexico and China to Brexit, has forced automakers to reconsider their product lines and supply chains.
Last year, Ford announced that it would lose most of its passenger cars destined for the North American market, especially trucks and SUVs. This year it announced a new factory alliance with Volkswagen, in which Ford will produce vehicles bearing the VW logo and vice versa. Volkswagen and Ford are also about to conclude an agreement on the sharing of electric technology and autonomous driving.
In Thursday’s press release, Ford announced that it was counting on its partnership with VW to increase its already substantial share in the European commercial vehicle market. Europe has seen a nosedive in figures, affected mainly due to lower demand, poor diesel sales, and pound losing its value.