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March 29, 2019

Ford confirms C-Max axe

Ford has confirmed the end of C-Max compact MPV production at its Saarlouis plant as part of ongoing efforts to return its European business unit to profitability.

By Sam Duke

Ford has confirmed the end of C-Max compact MPV production at its Saarlouis (Germany) plant as part of ongoing efforts to return its European business unit to profitability.

Production of the C-Max and Grand C-Max will cease by the end of June 2019 as part of moves to improve product mix and reduce costs in Europe.

“The actions announced today represent an important step towards delivering the products our customers want and a more competitive business for our stakeholders,” said Steven Armstrong, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Ford-Werke GmbH. “We will continue to invest in Focus and those products that are proving to deliver a healthier business for us going forward.”

Ford of Europe announced in January its plans to implement a transformation strategy aimed at strengthening the Ford brand and creating a sustainably profitable business in Europe. As part of the company’s global redesign effort, the strategy includes changes to Ford’s vehicle portfolio, expanding offerings and volumes in its most profitable growth vehicle segments, while improving or exiting less profitable vehicle lines and addressing underperforming markets.

Ford said Ford-Werke GmbH had informed the workforce in Saarlouis in December 2018 about the plans to phase-out the C-Max/Grand C-Max due to the sharp drop in customer demand for Multi Activity Vehicles (MAV) in the segment, and has been in consultation with the employee representatives over the following months. Both parties have now reached agreement to end production of the models and move from a three-shift to a two-shift operating pattern by ceasing the night-shift.

In parallel Ford said it continues to invest in the new Ford Focus in Saarlouis, where ‘we are experiencing strong customer demand, particularly for higher margin Wagon, Active and ST variants’, to maintain competitiveness through the product cycle.

“We have made a significant decision to jointly shape the future of Ford in Germany and in Europe. It is important that the employee representatives, management and employees all share this difficult path together, “says Gunnar Herrmann, Chairman of the Board, Ford-Werke GmbH. “We know about the challenges ahead. I thank all employees who support this necessary transformation of our company.”

The staff-related measures associated with the end of C-Max/Grand C-Max production and the cessation of the night shift are part of the planned socially-responsible job reductions at Ford’s German sites aiming to reduce in excess of 5,000 jobs at the sites in Cologne and Saarlouis.

The Ford plant in Saarlouis currently produces the Ford Focus five-door, Wagon, ST and Active versions, as well as the Ford C-Max and Grand C-Max. The C-Max has been produced at the Saarland plant from 2003 to 2010, and then again since 2014. From 2010 to 2014, C-Max was manufactured in Valencia, Spain.

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