Ford to lay off hundreds of workers

Ford workers in Britain will be among several hundred to lose jobs across Europe because of falling demand, the US car-maker announced yesterday.

The company said redundancies among permanent staff would be voluntary, although the exact number of job losses would "not be known for a few months".

Ford employs 15,000 people in Britain, based at its factories in Southampton and Dagenham, among a total European workforce of 66,000, which is based largely in Germany. The announcement follows a 19 per cent drop in Ford's European sales, disclosed in July – which could lead to a £630m loss this year. Collectively, vehicle makers across the European Union have seen sales fall by 7.1 per cent in the first eight months of this year.