Ford has revealed plans to stop producing cars at its production facility in Genk, Belgium in 2014. Production will move to Spain and Germany.
Finally, the inevitable is happening – Ford is moving to reduce its manufacturing capacity in Europe.
For plans to close its production facility in Genk, Belgium in 2014, with production of the new Mondeo, S-Max and Galaxy moving to Valencia in Spain and production of the C-Max and Grand C-Max probably off to Germany. The closure will mean the loss of 4300 jobs.
It’s a tough blow for the Belgium economy, but it’s a vital step if Ford are to continue operating in a European market that has dropped by 20 per cent in the last few years.
With losses last year of around $1 billion in Europe, Ford can’t continue to operate with manufacturing plants that are running at little more than 50 per cent of capacity, and the closure of the Genk plant will help, although it’s probably just the start of the cull for Ford, a cull of manufacturing in Europe that must happen to make car makers profitable again.
GM Europe are in deep trouble and looking for a way forward with Opel and Vauxhall – which could result in Vauxhall being shut down and Opel merged with PSA – and Ford’s move to rationalise is just part one of what must be a longer-term plan to reduce their European manufacturing base still further.
Ford are planning to reveal more detail on their plans tomorrow (Thursday). We’ll update then.