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Christopher Bruce2012-07-20 14:47:24

Ford Considering Closing Factory in England or Belgium

The Southampton plant produces Transit bodies but is running at less than one third capacity

FordFordFordUnited States of America, 1903 > present92 models
2550 photos
11 videos
is considering jumping on the bandwagon in Europe with PeugeotPeugeotPeugeotFrance, 1882 > present120 models
4048 photos
7 videos
and FiatFiatFiatItaly, 1899 > present159 models
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35 videos
by closing a factory in Europe. The two most likely candidates are Southampton, England, and Genk, Belgium.

Southampton is specifically on the chopping block because it is running a less that 33% capacity. The factory produces bodies for the Ford TransitTransit Gen.8Ford Transit Gen.8United Kingdom, 2011 > present370 versions
378 photos
van. It employs 550 people. 

Genk is doing slightly better and running at 68% capacity. It builds the MondeoMondeo Gen.4Ford Mondeo Gen.4United Kingdom, 2007 > 2013285 versions
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1 video
, S-MaxS-MaxFord S-MaxUnited Kingdom, 2006 > 201366 versions
80 photos
1 video
and GalaxyGalaxy Gen.3 [Mark III]Ford Galaxy Gen.3 [Mark III]United Kingdom, 2006 > present53 versions
60 photos
. The factory is also safer from shutdown because all of these vehicles will be revised very soon. Ford has already confirmed that the next Mondeo will be built at the Genk factory. 

Ford is only using 63% of its manufacturing capacity in Europe. Until now, Ford has done relatively well in Europe, especially compared to its worldwide rival General Motors. Ford has made $1.73 billion in Europe since 2007, while GMGMGMUnited States of America, 1998 > present8 models
240 photos
has continually lost money in the region. Still, Ford is finding it tough to make many in Europe now without discounting its vehicles. 

Analysts predict that normal auto demand will not return to Europe until late 2014 and will stay under peak demand levels through 2016. 

It is not as if Ford is unwilling to close factories. It closed a factory in Dagenham, England, in 2003 and was able to get rid of several other factories when it sold JaguarJaguarJaguarUnited Kingdom, 1922 > present53 models
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16 videos
, Land RoverLand RoverLand RoverUnited Kingdom, 1978 > present15 models
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9 videos
and VolvoVolvoVolvoSweden, 1927 > present49 models
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6 videos

Ford is forecasting a $570 million loss for the second quarter. Its sales were down 16% in June and down 10% in the first half of the year. 

Source: Automotive News



GM already closed a plant in Belgium, I hope the Ford one will remain. But it is a problem for a country with several car factories, but no car industry of its own. Renault closed Vilvorde, GM Antwerp...
20.07.2012 @ 20:59
It seems like Southampton is much more likely to close. Ford is planning Mondeo at the Genk factory, but those few Transit bodies can be built nearly anywhere.
20.07.2012 @ 21:23


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