Ford Planning Cuts in Europe

Will shut down three plants, trim back 13 percent of workforce


Ford Motor Co. outlined a broad plan to stem its operating losses in Europe by closing three auto-assembly and parts factories, trimming 13% of its workforce and 18% of its new-car production capacity in the region.

The restructuring aims to return Ford's money-losing European operations to profitability by mid-decade amid a sharp decline in new-car sales across Europe that is not expected to be reversed soon. The moves will reduce its operating costs by $500 million in the next two years.

The factory closings include a Southampton plant that produced 28,000 vans last year, a tool operations and stamping plant at Dagenham, both in the U.K., and its large Genk, Belgium, plant that built 178,000 vehicles in 2011. The workforce reductions include 5,700 hourly and salaried workers at the three plants and another 500 salaried employees across Europe who are expected to accept buyout offers by year-end.