The announcement follows “an emergency meeting” with senior staff and union officials earlier this week, and means that around 4,300 jobs will be cut at the Belgium factory.
Ford’s European operations have suffered losses of $1bn (£630m) so far in 2012, with sales down 10 per cent during the first half of the year to a 17-year low. A quarter of the firm’s sales come from Europe, but it uses only 65 per cent of its manufacturing capacity in the continent.
Ford Europe chairman and CEO Stephen Odell said: “The proposed restructuring of our European manufacturing operations is a fundamental part of our plan to strengthen Ford's business in Europe and to return to profitable growth.”
Ford would neither confirm nor deny that it is planning to close its factory in Southampton, which produces the Transit van.