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Ford to cut thousands of European jobs, Jaguar Land Rover may do similar

Ford Motor Co. will cut thousands of jobs in its European operations as it undertakes a "comprehensive transformation strategy" to boost profitability and ensure it remains competitive, the automaker said in a statement Jan. 10, the latest in a string of companies to announce such streamlining measures.

Press reports said separately that Jaguar Land Rover, a unit of India's Tata Motors Ltd. was also planning to announce about 4,500 layoffs as an abrupt slowdown in the Chinese auto market inflicted heavy losses on the U.K.-headquartered company.

Ford said it was starting consultations with unions and key stakeholders as it prepares to reduce structural costs while eliminating the least profitable models from its product line-up to focus on growth segments such as sports utility vehicles.

"We are taking decisive action to transform the Ford business in Europe," said Steven Armstrong, president for Europe, Middle East and Africa and vice president of Ford globally.

"We will invest in the vehicles, services, segments and markets that best support a long-term sustainably profitable business, creating value for all our stakeholders and delivering emotive vehicles to our customers," Armstrong said.

Ford's press department confirmed reports that Armstrong had spoken in a press conference of "thousands" of potential job losses resulting from the overhaul. It aims to pare back its workforce as much as possible through voluntary departures, its statement said.

The U.S. automaker has set a target of achieving a 6% operating margin, similar to objectives announced in 2018 by European rivals including Volkswagen AG and Peugeot SA as they seek the financial firepower to cope with changing consumer tastes and increased pressure to integrate low or zero emission powertrains to meet tightening emissions limits.

Ford said every new model it launches from now will offer options of hybrid or battery-electric powertrains.

On Nov. 26, General Motors Co. announced that it would cut its car production and reduce its salaried staff by 15% in North America.