The Blue Oval intends to close Belgian production plant in 2014 as part of a major restructuring of its European manufacturing business
Matt Burt
24 October 2012

Ford has revealed plans to close its production plant in Genk, Belgium, as predicted by Autocar earlier this week. The move will cost about 4300 people their jobs.

The closure, which is subject to a consultation process with trade unions before it can be approved, is part of a proposed restructuring of Ford’s European manufacturing operations.

The European revamp has been prompted by manufacturing overcapacity stemming from a slump of more than 20 per cent in demand for new vehicles in Western Europe over the last five years.

Mondeo production has collapsed to under 90,000 units per year from a high of around 300,000 at the turn of the century. With the move towards downsizing and a continued rise in premium brand sales, European Mondeo sales are unlikely to see a turnaround.

Under the plan, vehicle production will cease at Genk by the end of 2014 and production of the next-generation Mondeo, S-Max and Galaxy will switch to Ford’s Valencia Plant in Spain.

Production of the C-Max and Grand C-Max MPVs, which currently takes place at Valencia, could in turn move to Saarlouis in Germany.

"The proposed restructuring of our European manufacturing operations is a fundamental part of our plan to strengthen Ford's business in Europe and to return to profitable growth," said Ford of Europe boss Stephen Odell.

Ford will present more details of its restructuring plan tomorrow (Thursday). The company says it expects to lose around £620m in Europe this year and industry analysts say that one of the company’s main problems is that the firm has under-utilised factories, something Ford admits is one of the factors behind Genk's proposed closure.

One estimate claims Ford’s plants are running at an average of just 52 per cent of their potential maximum output.

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Ford Mondeo 2007-2014

The Ford Mondeo is a fine car in most areas. The family hatch is still a class leader even as its replacement nears

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Comments
10

24 October 2012

This could be a win:win for us and our colonial friends? If Ford genuinely embrace world-car production, they will benefit from more efficent motors and we can benefit from better Ford muscle-DNA in the designs.

 

New Focus 5-door RS or Mustang....? It would be a no-brainer, surely?

 

24 October 2012

Feel sorry for the workers concerned but Europe has too many under-utilised factories for things to continue the way they are. Think it will only be a matter of time before other companies wake up and smell the coffee and shut more plants down so they can match demand with capacity.

Can your GP prescribe anything for range anxiety?

24 October 2012

As they announced a 6 month delay on the new Mondeo for Europe a while back most industry analysts were expecting something like this.

I'm surprised they've bothered moving the production to another Euro plant, I thought they might go to production somewhere in US / South America.

24 October 2012

Terrible news for the workers. I am surprised Ford are not consolidating all three sites into one, not playing musical chairs with the remaining two Spanish and German factories, as the article describes.

*belch*

24 October 2012

The are moving it around as the C-Car platform (Focus) is already in place at Saarlouis, so moving C-Max there makes sense.  That leaves Valencia spare and it will most likely have lower production costs as well as being the petrol engine plant for Ford Europe.

24 October 2012

Feel really sad for the workers, I had the pleasure of working there during my Ford days and it was one of the most efficient plants at that time, and a nice place to work.

I guess of all the Ford plants left in mainland Europe this was the most likely to go simply because it had the current lowest utilisation rate, but even so it is still a big decision to mark it for closure.

I seriously doubt this will be the last big plant closure...

 

24 October 2012

Looks like this is about to be followed by bad news regarding the Southampton Transit plant too according to the BBC...

24 October 2012

Its ironic that Germany is probably Ford of Europes weakest market. Most Germans wouldnt be seen dead behind the wheel of a Blue Oval product and yet Ford remain absolutely committed to manufacturing in the country. By contrast the UK probably absorbs more Ford cars than most of the other European markets put together yet Ford now seem to be completely turning their back and axing the Southampton Transit plant as well as Genk. The UK probably takes about 90% of Transit production! If Fords production actually aligned with markets where they sold vehicles not only would Southampton be thriving, but Mondeo production would be on the way here as well.

25 October 2012

We might laugh at the Renault Wind but Mondeo means "my deodorant" in colloquial French!

25 October 2012

Unfortunatley, Ford are suffering the same issues as GM with regards to plant closurers and Germany.  

The Genk plant will probably be the easiest politically to close, which is the wrong way to look at it but the most efficient for Ford.

 

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

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