Car giant Ford is to shed jobs across its European operations under plans to save €182m a year.

The group said it is launching a voluntary redundancy programme as it looks to slash costs across "all areas" of the European business.

It comes in the face of mounting regulatory costs, according to the group.

Ford Europe returned to profit in 2015 for the first time in four years.

But bosses announced aims to ramp up the group's overhaul and unveiled a revamped line-up of cars.

Jim Farley, head of the car maker's European business, said: "We are creating a far more lean and efficient business that can deliver healthy returns and earn future investment.

"Our job is to make our vehicles as efficiently as possible, spending every dollar in a way that serves customers' needs and desires, and creating a truly sustainable, customer-focused business."

The move is expected to see hundreds of jobs go in the UK and Germany, where the bulk of its European workforce is based, largely impacting sales, administration and marketing roles.

Ford employs around 53,000 staff in Europe, with around 13,000 in the UK.

A spokesman for Ford in Ireland said the cuts announced today across its European operations will not affect its Irish employees.

Ford has a workforce of 40 in Cork, who are mainly involved in sales and marketing roles.

The Ford dealerships around the country are all independently owned. 

Today's news follows a programme of redundancies across Europe announced in 2012, when it axed around 1,000 roles.

Mr Farley said the recent return to profit was a "good first step", with Ford Europe last month posting a €236m surplus for its European arm – a €775m improvement on 2014.

But he added the group is "taking the necessary actions to create a vibrant business that's solidly profitable in both good times and down cycles".

The group also outlined plans to ditch some models in favour of increasingly popular sport utility vehicles (SUVs).

It is launching five new SUVs in the next three years as well as plug-in hybrid and electric cars.

Ford said it expects SUV sales in Europe to jump by more than 30% this year to more than 200,000.

It has not revealed which models are being axed under the overhaul.

The first Ford cars were shipped to Europe in 1903 - the same year Ford Motor Company was founded.

European production started in 1911.

Here in Ireland, Ford has sold more than 4,000 vehicles so far in 2016, making it the third most popular brand.

While Ford still makes parts in the UK, it no longer manufactures cars in Britain after closing several production lines over the past four years.