Ford is planning to cut 12,000 jobs in Europe by the end of next year, part of what the company called, “the most comprehensive redesign in the history of its business in Europe.”

Under the plan, Ford would operate 18 facilities in Europe by the end of 2020, down from 24 at the beginning of 2019. Ford will close the Ford of Britain and Ford Credit Europe headquarters in Warley, England, three plants in Russia, and plants in France and Wales, England. The automaker will implement shift reductions at its assembly plants in Saarlouis, Germany, and Valencia, Spain.

In the U.K., where worries over Brexit have clouded the auto industry’s outlook, Ford would have only one major plant, a diesel engine factory in east London.

“We have largely concluded consultations with social partners regarding restructuring actions,” Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe said in an interview with Reuters.

The job cuts will be primarily through voluntary separation programs, Ford said. Around 2,000 of the cuts are salaried positions.

Ford has about 51,000 employees in Europe, 65,000 including its joint ventures.

The cuts come as demand for automobiles falls in Europe. On Thursday, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, ACEA, said European passenger car registrations will shrink by 1% in 2019, down from a previous forecast of 1% growth. AlixPartners, in a survey of the industry published this week, said car sales would stagnate or fall in the next three years.

As part of the effort to reshape its operations, Ford said it was also instituting a new operating model, with three new business groups, and adding electric vehicle options across its portfolio.

“Ford will be a more targeted business in Europe, consistent with the company’s global redesign, generating higher returns through our focus on customer needs and a lean structure,” Rowley said.

Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images Europe

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