Ford has dismissed reports that it could cut 24,000 jobs in Europe and axe a number of models in a major cost-cutting spree, branding them "pure speculation".
The reports are based on analysis from Morgan Stanley, which estimated the firm will shed 12% of its global workforce as part of a major cost-saving exercise. The analysis also suggests the Ford Mondeo, Ford S-Max and Ford Galaxy could face the axe due to low sales, with customers for these models instead looking to the growing SUV market. Ford US is in the process of dropping saloons from its range, to focus on pick-ups, SUVs and the Mustang sports car.
A £9 billion restructuring of the brand’s European operations is planned, as Ford fights to compete with General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. In Europe, Ford made losses of nearly £57 million in the second quarter of 2017.
The Ford Mondeo is currently built in Valencia, Spain, while the Spanish plant also handles construction of the Galaxy and S-Max. If those models were to be cut, it’s likely that the workforces in these plants would also shrink. With other models in the brand’s line-up built in Germany, a pinch is likely to be felt there too. British plants in Dagenham and Bridgend could also be affected, but no word has officially been given on where cuts will be made.
Ford said: “We currently have our strongest-ever vehicle range in Europe. While we regularly evaluate our future product plans based on customer preferences and trends, there are no changes at this time. Mondeo remains a core part of our product line-up in Europe. We have upgrades coming for Mondeo later this year, which will see new powertrains as well as exterior and interior updates as well as enhancements to the Mondeo Hybrid range.
“The number of job losses quoted by a number of media is pure speculation and we would not comment on that. As we said in our second quarter earnings [statement] in July, our Europe business requires a major redesign to deliver our longer-term target of 6% EBIT margin.”