The European financial crisis has just claimed another 5,700 victims. That’s how many workers Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) will fire at two plants in the United Kingdom and one plant in Belgium as the company tries to weather the drop in demand for new cars in Europe.
The company’s CEO said:
Using the same One Ford plan that led to strong profitability in North America, we will address the crisis in Europe with a laser focus on new products, a stronger brand and increased cost efficiency.
Some 1,400 workers in the United Kingdom will lose their jobs as Ford closes plants in Southampton and Dagenham, while 4,300 will be out of work due to the closure of the company’s plant in Genk, Belgium. Another 500 salaried workers already were slated to be fired.
The problem for all the automakers has been overcapacity in European manufacturing. By closing these plants, Ford lowers its manufacturing capacity to 355,000 units annually, not including Russian capacity. The company expects to realize gross annual savings of $400 million to $500 million from the closures.
Ford will close the two U.K. plants in 2013 and the Belgian plant in 2014. The company said it plans to reduce its U.K. staff “through voluntary means, enhanced employee separation programs, and redeployment to other Ford locations.” In Belgium, the closure “is dependent on the outcome of the ongoing employee consultation process.”
Ford’s shares are trading up about 0.8% in premarket activity this morning, at $10.25 in a 52-week range of $8.82 to $13.05.