Southampton, England – Ford of Europe is cutting 850 jobs in the U.K. and delaying the launch of a new Transit commercial vehicle, according to Automotive News Europe. The cost-cutting measures are in response to the economic crisis.

Ford said it plans to cut up to 500 jobs at its production plant in Southampton, which builds the current version of the Transit, and another 350 jobs at other sites in the U.K. betwen now and May. The automaker employs 129,000 people in the U.K.

The Transit was due to launch in 2011, but has been postponed, with no date mentioned. The delay will also result in the loss of about 350 temporary jobs in Essex, where the vehicle is being designed.

Ford sold 173,100 Transit vehicles in 19 main European markets in 2008, a drop of 8,800 vehicles from 2007.

The company said it is discussing cost reductions at other sites in Europe, but had made no decisions.

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