Not enough that people in Belgium are losing their appetite for cars (last we looked the market was down 11 percent), now people have even less reason to go to the Brussels motor show: Belgium’s equal opportunities minister Joelle Milquet asked carmakers to keep their product specialists fully dressed. (Read More…)
Union leaders met with Ford officials last week during Ford’s Amsterdam extravaganza, and when the topic of closing the Genk, Belgium plant was raised…nothing was said.
GM is not the only U.S. automaker that wants to close a plant in Europe, and Ford is thinking about more than the end of the road for Alan Mulally. German press, from the industry magazine Automobil Produktion to the German edition of the Wall Street Journal are talking about Ford shuttering its plant in Genk, Belgium. (Read More…)
Ford last closed a plant in Europe a decade ago, when its Dagenham assembly plant was shuttered, but the Blue Oval may be forced to do it again.
Full Disclosure: I hate “The Simpsons” and I hate Renault cars. So this article is going to have me seething. (Read More…)
GM has a $530m millstone around its neck. It’s the closed and unsold Antwerp plant. Nobody wants it. The Antwerp assets are turning into a liability which endangers the GM IPO. Now it looks like GM found a savior that could take the plant off their hands. Guess where he comes from. Hint: Not from Washington. (Read More…)
To stay alive, Opel wants to scale down. The factory in Antwerp is being closed. With amazing results for Opel’s bottom line: Closing the factory costs GM around €400m ($532m) in termination benefits. GM and the unions reached an agreement on the termination benefits earlier this week, reports Reuters. There are 2,600 workers in Antwerp. Now do the math: $532m divvied up amongst 2600 workers is a little bit over $200,000 per worker. Ouch! Wait, there is more pain … (Read More…)
Belgium’s Antwerp can focus on its core competencies as a hub of the diamond trade. Opel will close their plant in the port city of Belgium within the next months, reports Das Autohaus, citing an announcement by Opel. The plant will be closed “to safeguard the future of the company quickly and sustainably.”
Nick Reilly expressed his supposedly sincere condolences: (Read More…)
General Motors made one point very clear, 100 percent clear, the restructuring plan could only be achieved when European member states with Opel plants give some financial help. So the plan works only with state aid. The idea that General Motors can finance this on its own was not shared by General Motors, this possibility does unfortunately not exist
EU Industry Minister Guenter Verheugen reveals to Automotive News [sub] that GM does indeed seem to be trying to limit the amount of US taxpayer money spent on its $4.9b rescue of Opel. GM’s Opel fixer Nick Reilly explains “we have indicated that we will inject some GM funds into that requirement too. That is quite difficult because we are also going through a restructuring of our U.S. operations and other parts of the world.” We’ve already seen loans for jobs floated in the UK, where Reilly came up just short of offering to save Vauxhall jobs for government restructuring loans on a quid-pro-quo basis. And GM will have to continue walking that fine line, as EU competition rules forbid member states from offering financial support in exchange for jobs, especially if the saved jobs come at the expense of jobs in another EU member state. But Germany’s leadership was humiliated by GM’s decision to drop the sale of Opel to Magna, and has already ruled out funding an Opel restructuring that would keep the automaker under GM control. Will Belgium, Spain and the UK be able to come up with enough money to make the restructuring happen? Or will GM simply be forced to dip deeper into its taxpayer-funded escrow account? GM’s plan will be announced this week, and we’ll be watching.