This morning, Ford Motor Company said it plans to restructure its Europe manufacturing operations as it seeks to address changing market conditions that have left the automaker with a glut of capacity at a time new vehicle sales are at a 20-year low.
The plan includes the closure of its plant in Genk Belgium by the end of 2014 and the elimination of the 4,300 jobs there, subject to negotiations with representatives of the employees.
The Genk plant currently builds the Ford Mondeo, S-Max and Ford Galaxy minivan. The 6.7 million square-foot plant opened in 1964. Ford says it would shift production of the Genk lines to its plant in Valencia, Spain. The C-MAX and Grand C-MAX compact built at Valencia would go to Saarlouis, 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 Stephen Odell, chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe.
“We understand the impact this potential action would have on our work force in Genk, their families, our suppliers and the local communities. We fully recognize and accept our social responsibilities in this difficult situation and, if the restructuring plan is confirmed, we will ensure that we put in place measures and support to lessen the impact for all employees affected,” Odell said.
Ford had telegraphed its punch by calling a meeting of employee representatives without disclosing the subject of the meeting. Workers leaving the plant after their shifts were certain the meeting was to announce the plan to close the plant.
Ford said it will provide details of its plans for Europe during an analyst call on Thursday, October 25.