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.