Continental CEO Elmar Degenhart. Picture: SUPPLIED
Continental CEO Elmar Degenhart. Picture: SUPPLIED

Frankfurt am Main —Continental confirmed on Wednesday it would cut  5,500 jobs by 2028, as the German car parts giant seeks huge savings to confront a stuttering global economy and weaker demand for combustion engines.

The jobs cull affecting Germany, Italy and the US would support Continental’s “urgently needed technological transition and thus the strengthening of our competitiveness and future viability”, CEO Elmar Degenhart said.

The company has set itself the goal of saving €500m (about R8,1bn) annually from 2023.

The reduction comes as Germany's mighty car industry — employing 800,000 people — is battered by global trade conflicts, stricter emissions limits and a costly switch to electric and autonomous vehicles.

Continental said it would close plants in Roding, Germany, and Newport News, Virginia, the US, by 2024 as it stops making hydraulic components for petrol and diesel engines.

About 520 jobs will be lost in Roding and 720 in Virgina.

By 2025, Continental will axe 1,800 posts at its German plant in Babenhausen.

By 2028, 750 more jobs will go in Pisa, Italy, and 850 in Limbach-Oberfrohna, Germany, due to the discontinued hydraulic components manufacturing.

The latest round of job cuts come on top of a cull announced in September that will see Continental scrap 650 jobs in North Carolina, the US, and 270 in Malaysia.

Continental, with a global workforce of 240,000 people, stressed that some employees would be offered a chance to retrain "for other tasks" to find alternative roles in the group.

In October, the group reported a net loss of €1.99bn for the third quarter of 2019, and forecast a full-year loss.