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Old 06-22-2005, 15:54   #1 (permalink)
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EU:Ford of Europe revamps development, eyes staffing

Ford of Europe revamps development, eyes staffing

Reuters

DUESSELDORF, Germany -- Ford Motor Co will reorganize its product development in Europe to help cut costs, but no jobs will be shed as a result, the No. 2 U.S. carmaker said on Wednesday.

The move has been months in the making, a spokesman said, adding it was unrelated to Ford's announcement on Tuesday that it was "evaluating options for reducing personnel-related costs outside of North America" to complement domestic savings.

Slumping North American sales of high-margin pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles have hit Ford hard, prompting its second profit warning this year on Tuesday and news it will cut 5 percent of white-collar jobs there by October.

Ford of Europe has already chopped jobs and production capacity so that it now operates at full capacity, but the spokesman said it was reviewing its staffing levels again.

"Evaluations are in progress, including Ford of Europe's own evaluation of salary-related costs, but we have nothing specific to announce at this time," he said.

Streamlining product development in Europe means Ford will focus on vehicles in the German city of Cologne and on motors in Dunton, southeast England, the company said, confirming a report in German business magazine Capital.

Ford management and the works council were negotiating details on how to handle staff affected by the move.

Until now, engineers in Cologne had developed both cars and motors for such vehicles as the Ford Focus, Mondeo and Galaxy and the Volvo S40. Dunton staff worked on diesel motors, the Ford Ka and Fiesta models and commercial vehicles.
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