Ford Motor is going ahead with plans to axe 3200 workforces across Europe and move some product development work to the United States, Germany's IG Metall union, which pledged action that would disrupt the carmaker across the continent if the cuts continue, said on Monday.
According to reports, soaring costs for electric vehicle battery materials and projected slowdowns in the US and European economies are putting pressure on automakers to cut expenses.
Ford Motors is facing heat from Tesla, especially after the EV price war was launched by the Elon Musk-owned car maker earlier this month, analysts said.
The company wants to cull up to 2,500 jobs in product development and up to 700 in administrative roles.
Workers at the U.S. carmaker's Cologne site, which employs about 14,000 people, including 3,800 at a development centre in the Merkenich area, were informed of the plans at works council meetings on Monday.
A spokesperson at the automaker's headquarters in Michigan said discussions with the German works councils were continuing and that the company needs to be "more competitive" as it transitions to EVs.
Ford last year announced a $2 billion investment to expand production at its Cologne plant to make an all-electric model for the mass market.
The plant currently produces the Ford Fiesta as well as engines and transmissions.
The carmaker, which employs about 45,000 people in Europe, is planning seven new electric models in the region, a battery assembly site in Germany, and a nickel cell manufacturing joint venture in Turkey as part of a major EV push on the continent.
It also has a partnership with Volkswagen to produce 1.2 million vehicles on the German carmaker's MEB electric platform over six years.
That partnership remains in place, Ford and Volkswagen representatives said, though Ford's U.S. spokesperson added that Volkswagen's role in Ford's next generation of European electric vehicles was still to be determined.
Ford shares were up 3.9% at $12.89 on Monday afternoon in New York. Shares of rival General Motors Co gained 3.1% to $36.45, while Tesla stock was up 7.6% at $143.60.