A Citroen C3 was the last car to be produced at the plant that not long ago had 3,300 workers on the outskirts of Paris.
Since Peugeot announced the move to close the 40-year-old factory more than a year ago, output has slowed dramatically because of numerous strikes. The last Citroen C3 produced here was also the 8,568,391st car.
“The decision to close Aulnay was difficult, but it was a courageous and essential one given the fall of the markets and the industrial overcapacity in Europe,” Philippe Dorge, Peugeot’s human resources director
The Aulnay facility shutdown will not be singular, as European automakers try to reduce manufacturing capacity in their strive to regain profits as the region’s car sales slump to a two-decade low. Auto plants traditionally must operate at above 80 % of capacity to become profitable. Factories in Europe, including Russia, can churn out around 26 million vehicles a year, about 7 million more than they’re currently producing. Also, matching capacity with current sales would need the shutdown of another 18 European plants the size of Aulnay.
Ford announced last year it would close three European facilities and cut 5,700 jobs. GM’s Opel unit said in December it would close its Bochum manufacturing factory, which employs 3,100 and Italy’s Fiat in 2011 closed its Termini Imerese factory in Sicily.