Ford plans to fire 400 US salaried employees by the end of this year as part of a restructuring plan, a spokesman told The Associated Press.

Spokesman Oscar Suris reportedly said it is the first time in 30 years that Ford has forced out so many white-collar workers.

AP noted that Ford has said it wants to reduce its North American salaried work force by 2,750 jobs by the end of this year, but Tuesday was the first time the company has confirmed that 400 of those employees will be fired – some of those dismissals already have occurred, Suris told the news agency.

The Associated Press said the company has been trying to reduce its work force through buyouts and voluntary separations, but only 1,000 people had left the company by the end of July – Ford has 35,000 salaried workers in North America.

The firings reportedly were announced in an e-mail to mid-level and senior managers from Ford president and chief operating officer Jim Padilla. The employees will be given severance packages according to their years of service with the company, Suris told AP.

The news agency also noted that Ford has announced, earlier this month, that it would cut costs by consolidating its Ford and Lincoln Mercury marketing divisions and shedding sales jobs. Last week, chairman and chief executive Bill Ford reportedly said the company would make a “comprehensive announcement” this autumn that will include a more competitive business model though he declined to be specific and said the plan will not be limited to cost cuts.

According to the Associated Press, the Dearborn-based automaker is saddled with high labour and health care costs at the same time its US market share is falling – to 17.9% in the January-July period from 18.5% a year ago.

Ford’s profits fell 19% in the second quarter to $946 million from $1.17 billion a year ago and its sales were flat in the first seven months of this year, the report added.