Ford Expected to Close Genk Plant in Belgium image

Ford requested an emergency meeting with labor unions at the Genk plant, Belgium, fueling expectations that the automaker will close the facility.

Ford will meet staff representatives on Wednesday, October 24th, at the Genk plant, without offering an agenda. The facility has 4,300 employees who manufacture the Galaxy and S-MAX minivans, as well as the Mondeo mid-size car, all three near the end of their current life cycles.

“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.”

Ford begins to feel more and more the pressure of the European crisis and it doubled its loss forecast on the continent to $1 billion in July. The company announced it needs a quick plan to be able to match production with demand. Genk labor unions were more optimistic about the plant’s future, after Ford said it will start production of the new Mondeo next October.

But the automaker is prepared to close the plant and build the Mondeo somewhere else, if this will help the company cut costs. If the automaker closes the Genk plant, it will be the second facility to be closed in Belgium over the past two years, after GM closed its Antwerp site in 2010.