Ford Germany to cut staff

Cologne. Hit by weak sales and high losses, Ford is planning to further reduce its workforce in Germany.

The company wants to introduce an early-retirement program patterned on the British Ford plants' example. Such a program could enable the Cologne-based company to reduce its staff by several hundred a year.

The details are being negotiated. In Britain the age limit is 55 years. There are rumors that the management board does not want to pay any additional compensation. Dieter Hinkelmann, head of the general works council, said that wouldn't be acceptable.

He also said that Ford needed every worker to help it realize its production plans.

Hinkelmann demanded that alternative cost-cutting programs are discussed next week. For some time now Ford has had a hiring freeze.

Nick Scheele, responsible for the Ford group's worldwide operations, told Automobilwoche that cost-saving measures for the planned models for Europe are definitely out of the question. "This is our future, we will not make any savings here - and that's it."

The new Ford Europe boss, Lewis Booth, who is taking over from Martin Leach, is positive that "Ford will soon be profitable again in Europe."

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