The US vehicle manufacturer Ford is looking to axe 12,000 of its employees across Europe.

According to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), car markets are having a hard time making sales due to the dwindling of the economy. Ford’s operation in Europe had reported a $398m loss before interest and tax in 2018.

Jim Hackett, Ford’s chief executive, prompted the reductions to the carmaker’s international business which has seen a loss of over $800m outside North America in 2018.

Due to the cuts, some of Ford’s engine plants are about to close in September 2020 including one factory in France, two in Russia, and a British headquarters in Warley, Essex. Meanwhile, the closure of a Ford plant in Bridgend, Southwales is expected to result in 1,700 employees losing their jobs.

Stuart Rowley, European operation president of Ford, said that the reason why Ford stopped the operation is that they are looking forward to improving the company sales for 2019 by investing in new technologies. They are also looking into redesigning and restructuring car models so they can provide the exact needs of the customers. He also said that by cutting on the operation, Ford would be able to strengthen its commercial vehicle venture and target more electrified vehicles and SUVs.

Ford of Europe is planning to produce battery electric vehicles and passenger vehicles that have electrified options.

They also intend to start importing a new electrified Mustang variant in 2020. 

Car manufacturers are rushing to electrify their lines to comply with the rigid emission targets. According to data company Jato Dynamics, the average Ford car sold in Europe last year produced 123.7g of carbon dioxide per kilometer driven which exceeds the 95g/km threshold that will be imposed in 2021.

This is the first time since 2013 that car companies have seen this kind off a loss, a result of the complicated exit of UK from the European Union and the trade war between US and China.