ford electric car ces 2016
Ford claims to have more electric-vehicle patents than any other auto manufacturerFord

US car maker Ford has unveiled plans to cut hundreds of jobs at its sites in the UK and Germany, amid a restructuring programme aimed at saving $200m (£138m, €183m) a year across its European business.

The Detroit-headquartered firm, which saw sales of vehicles in the US decline 2.6% year-on-year in January, said the decision was brought upon by the need to balance the increasingly high regulatory costs the group has faced in Europe. As a result, Ford, whose European business returned to profit for the first time in four years in 2015, added it would implement a voluntary redundancy programme, indicating the majority of job losses will be within the marketing and administration sectors.

"In the past three years, Ford of Europe has improved its business in all areas and moved from deep losses to a $259m profit in 2015," said Jim Farley, head of Ford's European, Middle East and Africa business. "This is a good first step. We are absolutely committed to accelerating our transformation, taking the necessary actions to create a vibrant business that's solidly profitable in both good times and down cycles."

Farley said the car-maker, which agreed a cost-saving deal with unions in Germany and shut down three of its plants in Western Europe in 2013, remained determined to enhance its cost efficiency and manufacturing capacity utilisation. "We are absolutely committed to accelerating our transformation, taking the necessary actions to create a vibrant business that's solidly profitable in both good times and down cycles," he added. "We are creating a far more lean and efficient business that can deliver healthy returns and earn future investment.

Meanwhile, Ford revealed plans to increase the offer for its European customers by introducing seven new and updated vehicles over the course of 2016, with hybrid and electric vehicles to be introduced in Europe by 2020 as part of the group's $4.5bn investment in electrified vehicles.