LONDON — Ford Motor Company said on Thursday it would cut about a fifth of its European work force and shut down five plants as the company deals with weak demand for its cars.

The automaker, which has struggled to turn a profit in Europe, said that about 12,000 of its 65,000 workers across Europe would lose their jobs, with most being offered voluntary separation programs.

The job reductions were announced along with plans to build more electrical vehicles in the region, as part of “a new business model” to streamline the company’s European operations.

Ford started to shrink its European presence in 2013, but said at the start of 2019 that it would cut thousands of jobs. Like many global automakers,

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