Ford cuts jobs to sustain European profits as GM lags

Wed Feb 3, 2016 10:29am EST
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By Andreas Cremer

BERLIN (Reuters) - Ford (F.N: Quote) revealed plans on Wednesday to cut hundreds of white-collar jobs in Europe and revamp its model range to keep it profitable in the region after turning a corner in 2015.

Meanwhile rival General Motors (GM.N: Quote), which announced another loss in Europe last year, vowed to break even at its own European arm.

Customers flocked to Ford and GM in Germany after VW's credibility and image were hit by a regulatory scandal, registration figures showed.

Along with Italian carmaker Fiat, Ford and GM have made losses for years in Europe, which in 2014 recovered from a six-year downturn during which demand dropped to a two-decade low.

Despite posting a full-year profit of $259 million in Europe in 2015, its first since 2011, Ford (F.N: Quote) said on Wednesday it plans to cut hundreds of white-collar jobs in the region with a voluntary redundancy scheme.

The U.S. firm, whose improved performance was helped by a 10 percent gain in sales, said job cuts and a model overhaul were needed to ensure profits were sustainable.

"We want to make sure we have that stable footing so we can build a viable business in the future," Jim Farley, head of Ford Europe told Reuters, citing a longer-term operating margin target of 6-8 percent.

This compared with less than 1 percent it hit last year.   Continued...

A 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor pickup truck is displayed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in this January 11, 2016 file photo.  REUTERS/Mark Blinch