The company, which has 68,000 workers in Europe, including through joint ventures, did not specify how many jobs it would shed, but a spokesman said the number would be in the “thousands.” Ford said that it planned to consult with labor unions about the cuts, which will affect all departments, and that it hoped that as many as possible would be voluntary.
The carmaker also said it would close a transmission factory in Bordeaux, France, at the end of August. Among the possible cuts, Ford is: considering ceasing production of two minivan models at its factory in Saarlouis, Germany, as the European market for such vehicles shrinks; reviewing a joint venture in Russia, Ford Sollers; and planning to consolidate its headquarters in Britain.
The global auto industry is showing signs of strain. Car sales in the United States appear to have peaked, as incentives like low-interest loans end. Officials in China said this week that car sales there plummeted 19 percent in December, the steepest decline in modern record-keeping that coincides with a broader slowdown of the Chinese economy. In Europe, automakers are grappling with various challenges, including Britain’s looming exit from the European Union, which could result in higher tariffs on cars and car parts.
Also on Thursday, the British carmaker Jaguar Land Rover said it would reduce its global work force by 4,500 people, citing “multiple geopolitical and regulatory disruptions.” The cuts, which the company said would come through buyouts, follow the departure of 1,500 workers last year.
Carmakers are confronting a sharp tightening of emissions standards in Europe. Ford said Thursday that it would offer electric versions of its new passenger vehicles. It has been testing hybrid vans in London and Valencia, Spain.
[Read more about Ford’s efforts to cut costs and find new partners.]
Ford, which has 6.4 percent of Europe’s new car market, has struggled to turn a profit in the region. It began to shrink its European operations in 2013 as its losses piled up under a glut of cars, but the retrenchment efforts have been costly because of severance payments.
Although record sales of pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles in the United States have improved the company’s profits, it has been losing money overseas. Ford has held talks with Volkswagen about a possible alliance in Europe and South America, and has explored cooperation with Mahindra, an automaker in India, a country where it has also struggled.
Ford said last year that it would reorganize its worldwide salaried work force with the goal of making it leaner by this year’s second quarter.