Cost-cutting necessary to safeguard future, says Ford boss
16 March 2009

Ford is to switch some of its European manufacturing operations as it bids to cut costs - and it has warned that further dramatic changes may be necessary to survive the current economic crisis.

The changes announced today will primarily affect Ford's plants in Germany, Spain and Romania.

"Cutting capacity, reducing costs and safeguarding our future product plans are essential actions for Ford of Europe to sustain a viable business for the future," said John Fleming, Ford of Europe Chairman and CEO.

"We have already taken a number of actions but, as the market has continued to weaken substantially, we are now taking additional necessary actions.

"Ford of Europe must return to sustainable profitability as soon as possible. We will do whatever it takes to ensure the continuing viability of our business, and further actions can be expected," he added.

Ford sales in Europe were down 15.5 per cent year-on-year in the first two months of 2009.

At the Valencia plant in Spain, the changes include:

  • Cutting work schedules from three to two shifts a day, from 1 May. Ford also says it is continuing to talk to workers about ways of reducing "surplus labour".
  • The plant will continue to build the Fiesta, but the Focus production line will be replaced by the next-generation C-Max model, due in 2010.
  • From later this year, the plant will also produce a new 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine
  • At the Saarlouis plant in Germany, the changes include:

  • Continuing with reduced hours for workers. For most, thsi means a four-day week.
  • Preparing the plant for building all derivatives of the next-generation Ford Focus, which is expected to go on sale in 2011
  • The current production lines for the Ford Kuga and C-Max will not be replaced when the models go off sale
  • The Craiova engine plant in Romania will also share development of a new petrol EcoBoost engine with the Cologne engine plant.

    Ford has also said that it is considering moving the manufacturing of a Focus derivative to another, existing plant to push it closer to capacity.

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