Today Ford Expected to Announce Plans to Close Genk Plant image

Today, Ford is expected to announce that it will close the Genk factory in Belgium, which employs 4,300 workers.

Ford requested an emergency meeting today with staff representatives at 0700 GMT, without offering an agenda. The automaker’s managers and CEO Stephen Odell, will meet Belgian Prime Minister Elio di Rupo and Employment Minister Monica De Coninck at 1100 GMT. The Genk plant produces the Galaxy and S-MAX minivans, as well as the Mondeo mid-size car.

Although Ford is close to begin production of the next generation Mondeo, it will chose to shift it somewhere else due to the slump in the region’s auto market. Last month new car registrations in Europe fell at the fastest pace in the last 12 months, all major automakers reporting double-digit declines. This year the Genk plant has operated at only 80% of its capacity, and by the end of this year it only has 15 more production days, and none in December.

If Ford closes the Genk plant, it will be the second facility to be closed in Belgium in the past two years, after GM’s Antwerp site. In July, Ford doubled its European losses for this year to $1 billion.