Media: Ford To Close Plant In Belgium, Export American Cars To Europe
September 13th, 2012 6:46 AM Share
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.
Neither of them received a confirmation by Ford.
The Genk plant is home to 4,000 workers. Their misfortunes could be good news for UAW members. Genk predominately makes the Ford Mondeo, sold in the U.S. as the Fusion. Ford is increasing capacities stateside. “If European models would roll off the lines in America, shuttering the Belgian location would be reasonable,” orcacles the WSJ.
Published September 13th, 2012 6:46 AM
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1.5 hour drive to the Niehl Pilot Plant, half of that to the Lommel Proving Grounds... that would be very similar to when Ford shuttered Wixom. The local union contract expires in 2014. Seeing they just launched a new platform there, this doesn't pass the smell test. Then again, Norfolk Assembly got shut down right after it received a flexible body shop.
Just like doing a contract before GM or Chryco could helped push them into bankruptcy, closing a plant in belgium before Opel has a chance too (thus setting the cost as they did with the UAW), Ford can help push Opel over the edge and they would be primary beneficiaries. They aren't going to close plant in Germany or England now and spain is the 4th largest economy in EU, Belgium is completely disfunctional (doesn't have a functioning government currently and a debt/gdp ratio that would make the greeks happy.)
From a capacity persepctive, shuttering a European plant to centre Fusion/Mondeo production make sense. However, having a European plant provides a natural currency hedge. Look at whats happening to the Japanese manufacturers with the strong Yen. It could be the same for Ford/GM if they shutter plants in Europe now. Need to look at the wider picture.
It should be remembered that Ford's Belgian plant also produces Volvos, but maybe the Swedes will be complicit in closing the facility as Geely looks to fill capacity at the series of plants they're obliged to build in China.