Ford summons Genk unions, fueling closure fears - AutoNews - Ford Inside News Community
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-22-2012, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Ford summons Genk unions, fueling closure fears - AutoNews

Ford summons Genk unions, fueling closure fears - AutoNews
October 22, 2012 13:42 CET


BRUSSELS (Reuters) -- Ford Motor Co. called an emergency meeting with unions at its car plant in Genk, Belgium, amid mounting expectations that the automaker is preparing to close the factory.

Ford has summoned staff representatives to a meeting with European executives on Wednesday without providing an agenda, union officials said on Monday.

"No one is allowed to tell us anything," said an official with the ABVV Metaal union. "We're assuming it will be a very serious announcement."

A Ford spokesman declined to comment on the meeting or its purpose. "We will not comment on discussions with our unions," he said.

The plant in Genk, eastern Belgium, employs 4,300 workers to build the Mondeo mid-size car and Galaxy and S-Max minivans. All three models are approaching the end of their current life cycles.

Unions in Genk had said last month they were more optimistic about the plant's future after Ford set a date to start production of the new Mondeo next October.

According to sources with knowledge of production plans, however, Ford is prepared to wind down the facility and build the Mondeo elsewhere. The tentative start date is not a reprieve for Genk, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because the plans were confidential.

Low utilization...


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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-22-2012, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Ford summons Genk unions, fueling closure fears - AutoNews

Ford summons Genk unions, fuelling closure fears - 4-traders.com
10/22/2012| 09:35am US/Eastern


...Pressure for European plant closures has been growing as the region's protracted auto-market slump racks up ever deeper losses from idled sites. Ford doubled its European loss forecast to $1 billion in July and said action was needed to "decrease our production to match real demand".

Ford is due to present third-quarter financial results to investors and reporters on October 30.

Unions in Genk had said last month they were more optimistic about the plant's future after Ford set a date to start production of the new Mondeo next October.

According to sources with knowledge of production plans, however, Ford is prepared to wind down the facility and build the Mondeo elsewhere. The tentative start date is not a reprieve for Genk, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because the plans were confidential.

Genk's closure, if confirmed, would be Belgium's second car factory decommissioning in two years, after General Motors scrapped its Antwerp site in 2010. It would leave the country with two assembly plants, Volvo's in Ghent and Volkswagen's Audi facility in Brussels.

The scale of Ford's European losses has fuelled speculation that it will join PSA Peugeot Citroen and Opel in announcing a major plant closure.

Paris-based Peugeot unveiled plans in July to cut 8,000 additional jobs and close a domestic plant in Aulnay, near the French capital. Opel is in talks with unions on a restructuring plan leading to the eventual closure of its factory in Bochum, Germany.

In a recent research note, New York-based UBS analyst Colin Langan predicted that Ford would move to close a major plant in Europe, where its factories are running at 52 percent of maximum output on average this year.

"Ford is most likely to close its assembly plant in Genk," Langan said, citing the factory's "consistently low utilization level".

Shuttering the Belgian factory would cost an estimated $1.1 billion euros and generate annual savings of $730 million, Langan also said.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-22-2012, 06:48 PM
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Re: Ford summons Genk unions, fueling closure fears - AutoNews

Not surprised.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-22-2012, 08:10 PM
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Re: Ford summons Genk unions, fueling closure fears - AutoNews

It would probably only be one of the plants.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 02:49 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Ford summons Genk unions, fueling closure fears - AutoNews

BELGIUM: Unions blockade Ford Genk gates as 'European crisis' only agenda topic - Just-Auto.com
By Simon Warburton | 23 October 2012


Belgian unions are currently blockading the gates of Ford's Genk site as it has emerged only one topic - 'European crisis' - will be on the agenda of tomorrow's (24 October) emergency meeting.

Intense speculation in Belgium is centering on fears the automaker could announce a significant restructuring tomorrow at the plant employing 4,300 staff with thousands more supply workers on the same site.

All of Belgian's unions involved in the local Works Council have been summoned by Ford to the emergency meeting tomorrow at the Genk plant, while the manufacturer will also travel to Brussels to see the Flemish President and Belgian Prime Minister.

"They have blocked the gates so no car can leave the plant," ABVV-FGTB union cabinet staff member, Rudi Kennes told just-auto from Belgium. "All three unions are blocking the gates. The agenda topic is what I got on the phone by [ABVV] secretary there, 'European crisis.' There is only one point on the agenda, which is 'European crisis,' period.

[Tomorrow] "They [Ford] have the exceptional Works Council and then they travel to Brussels and the European management has a meeting with the President of Flanders, Kris Peeters and the Federal Prime Minister of Belgium, Elio dei Rupo."

Kennes added Genk is currently on a temporary shut-down due to last until the end of this week, with production slated to restart next Monday (29 October).

Only last month, it seemed likely Ford would continue assembly of the successors to the Galaxy and S-MAX models at Genk, but tomorrow's meeting has thrown this into doubt.

The union spokesman said he did not think Belgian politicians were aware of any more information, but the Flanders government is believed to have committed EUR28m (US$36m) to Ford Genk and will be keen to hear the outcome of Wednesday's meeting following its experience of GM and its Antwerp plant, which saw more than 1,000 workers lose their jobs.

Ford in Germany confined itself to noting to just-auto yesterday: "We are not going to comment on discussions with our unions."
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 05:11 AM
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Re: Ford summons Genk unions, fueling closure fears - AutoNews

Ford to move production of new models from Belgium to Spain: union

Ford Motor Co will transfer the production of new versions of its Mondeo, S-Max and Galaxy models to Valencia, Spain, from Belgium, union representative Luc Prenen said on Wednesday. The Belgian plant, which currently makes all three models, was to have started producing the new Mondeo in October 2013.

This is all the info currently at the linked article.

Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/news/2012...#ixzz2ACpFsNIs
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 05:17 AM
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Re: Ford summons Genk unions, fueling closure fears - AutoNews

[h=1]Ford Plans to Restructure European Manufacturing Operations[/h]
  • Ford starts consultation process in Belgium on plan to close its Genk Plant and to cease vehicle production by the end of 2014
  • The plan, pending the outcome of the consultation process, could result in the transfer of the next-generation Ford Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy to Ford’s Valencia Plant in Spain
  • Pending further study, production of the C-MAX and Grand C-MAX compact multi-purpose vehicles could move from Valencia to Saarlouis, Germany, in 2014 under the proposed plan.
  • Company to provide more details of its overall transformation plan for Europe during a financial analyst and media conference call Thursday

COLOGNE, Germany, Oct. 24, 2012 – Ford Motor Company today announced a proposal to restructure its Europe manufacturing operations as part of its comprehensive plan to respond to structural market changes and deliver profitable growth in the region.
Ford announced its plans to end production at a major production plant in Genk, Belgium, by the end of 2014, pending the outcome of a consultation process with employee representatives. If the plan is confirmed, Ford would resource several vehicles to more fully utilize its European plants.
The plan would help to address manufacturing overcapacity stemming from a more than 20 percent drop in total industry vehicle demand in Western Europe since 2007. New vehicle sales in the region have reached a nearly 20-year low this year and are expected to remain flat or fall further next year.
“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.

Ford press release:

http://media.ford.com/news/fordplans...operations.htm
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 08:26 AM
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Re: Ford summons Genk unions, fueling closure fears - AutoNews

I was wondering why the Mondeo release was scheduled so much later than Fusion.

The early bird gets the worm..but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 01:30 PM
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Re: Ford summons Genk unions, fueling closure fears - AutoNews

Wall Street seems to like it.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Ford summons Genk unions, fueling closure fears - AutoNews

Ford to scrap Belgian plant to stem Europe losses - Reuters
By Robert-Jan Bartunek and Nigel Davies
Wed Oct 24, 2012


(Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (F.N) will close a Belgian factory employing more than 4,000 workers, shifting production to Spain as the U.S. automaker scrambles to cut costs and stem European losses.

It was the third time this year that a mass-market carmaker has announced plans to close a plant in Europe as the region's debt crisis, government spending cuts and high unemployment hit consumer budgets and demand for new cars.

Ford said it would shut its Genk plant in eastern Belgium, with the loss of about 4,300 jobs by the end of 2014, transferring the work to a plant in Valencia...


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