Ford, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover and China’s Lifan have been the most active automakers in terms of factory moves across Europe, reshaping the continent’s assembly footprint throughout last year.
Late last year Ford decided to close down its assembly facilities in Genk, Belgium, while General Motors ceased the manufacturing of Opel models in Bochum, Germany. Both shutdowns were part of a consistent strategy by the two US automakers to make their European divisions profitable again following years of heavy losses. Meanwhile, Britain’s Jaguar Land Rover is at the other end of the spectrum – it needs to set up new plants to cope with the strong demand. The carmaker controlled by India’s Tata Motors has signed a memorandum of understanding to construct a new factory in Slovakia – they will undergo a feasibility study for a plant in Nitra and then have it completed in 2018 with a production output of 300,000 units by 2025. IF JLR goes through with the plan the total quota of car assembly facilities Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic would go up to 15 units – from nine just a decade ago. All the factories are also very close one to another – within a 400 km radius.
China’s Chongqing Lifan Industry has also initiated the build of an assembly facility in Russia’s western state of Lipetsk Oblast. The aim is to have up to 60,000 units a year assembled from complete knockdown (CKD) kits sent from China, with production expected to commence no later than early 2018. The biggest manufacturing footprint in Europe is still the privilege of Germany’s VW AG and the Renault Nissan alliance – the two groups together own a total of 42 vehicle assembly facilities in Europe and Russia.
Via Automotive News Europe