A Citroen C3 was the last car to be produced at the plant that once employed 3,300 workers on the outskirts of Paris.
Since Peugeot announced plans to close the 40-year-old factory more than a year ago, output has slowed dramatically due to strikes. The last Citroen C3 produced here was also the 8,568,391st car.
The Aulnay factory shutdown will not be the only one, as European automakers reduce manufacturing capacity in a bid to shore up profits as the region’s car sales sink to a two-decade low. Auto plants typically must operate at 80 % of capacity to be profitable.
Factories in Europe, including Russia, can make almost 26 million cars a year, roughly 7 million more than they’re currently producing. Also, matching capacity with current demand would entail closing 18 European plants the size of Aulnay.
Ford said a year ago it would shut three European plants and cut 5,700 jobs. GM’s Opel unit said in December it would close its Bochum plant, which employs 3,100 and Italy’s Fiat in 2011 shut its Termini Imerese factory in Sicily.
Peugeot is shutting Aulnay as part of a plan to eliminate about 11,200 jobs in the country by 2015. President Francois Hollande said the closing – the first at a French auto plant in 20 years – was “unacceptable”, but later a report commissioned by his Industry Ministry called it “inevitable.”
The last vehicle produced today remained on the assembly line for about an hour so that employees could take pictures with the last car, said Anne-Laure Descleves, a spokeswoman at the plant.
) - Monday, October 28th, 2013 - filed under Citroen
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Discuss: Today PSA shut down Citroen’s Aulnay plant, more European factories to follow