Ford factory could close

Ford Mondeo estate
22 Oct, 2012 6:19pm Tom Phillips

Ford calls “an emergency meeting” with unions, as fears for its factory in Genk, Belgium, escalate

The future of Ford’s factory in Genk, Belgium, has been thrown into doubt, following “an emergency meeting with senior staff and union officials earlier today.

The Genk factory is where the current Ford Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy are built on Ford’s EUCD platform. The plant employs 4,300 people.

The Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy are all due for replacement. However, instead of beginning production of the new Mondeo in Genk this month, it now seems likely that Ford will look to build it elsewhere.

The Genk plant will then be closed when the S-MAX and Galaxy reach the end of their production cycles next year, to help slow Ford’s financial losses in the European market.

As well as being a tough time to sell cars, sales of large D-segment cars like the Mondeo and traditional large MPVs have been in decline for some time, as buyers upgrade to Audi A4s, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Classes, or switch to SUVs.

The all-new Mondeo has already been delayed. A Ford spokesman said that this was to “work through various issues to ensure a robust and high-quality launch”.

However, as well as making sure the Mondeo takes the fight to the premium German brands, it now seems that the decision on where the car will be built is also affecting the next Mondeo’s launch.

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It is sad that fashion has dictated that people are deserting excellent cars like the Mondeo Estate and S Max for SUV's with inferior handling and economy. No real sense to it all. Wilson

Why don't you build it in Britain Ford? You know, the country that's most loyal to you and where you sell most of your production. It won't hurt europe to feel a plant closure. Britain lost both Halewood AND Dagenham in the early 2000s. Build en where you sell em. Isn't that what henry Ford used to say?

Why not undercut the other makers? You're already loosing profit but I doubt you're loosing enough money to go under your break even mark... Undercut the other makers prices to push up sales figures will still help you in the long run. I don't doubt your current range of cars is top notch quality but they are so darned expensive that only companies can afford them. I doubt the average consumer could afford to throw £350 a month away on a new one especially when the first 30% of the sale is lost in depreciation in the first 2-3 years... Car makers should work on making their cars so desirable that they hold their value and then consumers would be more inclined to want one! That is where BMW and Mercedez do well, Audi not so much because it is one of the heavier depreciating cars despite being desirable.

Estates will be finally obsolete in a few years. They serve no other reason but being hoarses. SUV's do what estates used to do better, in better style, and they are not 5 meters long!
Vehicles like the S-MAX regretfully will follow on the same path. Not that it was not a very good car, but times are changing and the SUV's will make obsolete many categories aw they are produced now in every segment large/small/mini.
Ford is going to produce an SUV based on the Fiesta, so did Opel/GM with Mocca, so did Nissan with Juke, so will VAG with everybody else following course.
The end of an era is closing but surely i will not miss any of the estates, except the occasional RS4.
Companies are moving their factories to low cost zones, Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, Mexico, South America and they don't care less of people loosing their jobs in Europe.

And there's Volvo who halted a day of production because European sales are low. I forsee Ford moving to China at this rate!

Maybe the UK and Europe will get Yank Mondeos. There's something ironic about that concept.

Ford have only themselves to blame, the cars might be good to drive but lack flare in appearance and are far too expensive compared to their superior upmarket rivals. If you look back at the 70's when Ford and Vauxhall ruled the market across Europe, BMW's and Mercs cost almost double for a similar sized product, now they are within 20% of each other. Ford should of kept Volvo and Jaguar and repositioned Fords as low cost entry cars no bigger than the Focus.

A lot of firms have recently suspended production in this way, e.g. GM. In Europe there are more new cars than customers, so most of the mainstream makers are cutting production and jobs. Volvo has also recently announced that it is moving all Swedish bus production to Poland. Don't be surprised if Volvo ends all complete vehicle manufacture in Sweden within ten years.

When Fiesta production ended at Dagenham, I understand that Ford considered using this plant to build the Volvo S40/V50/C30 which were then in the pipeline. A shame they didn't.

The best thing Ford could do is change the name.

What a gift to big business it must have been when all those eastern bloc countries were allowed into the EU. Cheap labour, no import tarifs. It was better when we had communism there! Not mention all the people flooding into Western Europe.

But makes like Ford have caught up with their superiors and are now higher middle brands. The difference between, for example, Ford and Audi is now virtually non-existant, particularly as the latter have added smaller, cheaper cars to their range as tastes have changed. Ditto BMW and Mercedes.These brands sell more on brand kudos than merit. If anything it is the prestige cars that are overpriced. There would be no point in making budget Fords - no profit in it. The lower end of the market is flooded with product from Asia and Eastern Europe as it is. Ford spends a lot on R&D and manufactures most of its cars in high-cost locations. Becoming a lower middle brand would also be a bad move - look at how the likes of Renault and Fiat are struggling. Ford will stay where it is in the market and tough it out.

I think you'll find Halewood didn't close - it was switched to Land Rover production and currently is pretty busy building the Evoke. I guess it has a more secure future than knocking out crappy Fords.

BTW although Dagenham no longer builds cars, I understand that it builds pretty much every diesel engine used in a Ford pretty much anywhere so again, it's not doing badly.

I think people in the UK realised that Ford was not committed to UK car manufacturer and sales of its bigger cars have fallen.

Ford lost £1bn in Europe last year. I doubt price cutting is really an option. They are just making too many cars.

Fords are great cars but IMHO the interior design of the current Mondeo is hideous. It is smothered in plastic silver like a 1990's Dixons stereo. You won't get people out of Audi's to sit in that pig.

It's a sad fact of life that when there is little demand for your product the people that make it will lose their jobs.

There are just too many cars being made in Europe. If the people moaning about it below got out of their Audi's and BMW's then Ford could remain open. However, then Audi and BMW would lay off staff.

It's about the survival of the fittest. The Germans have made their cars better, more desirable and (thanks to the Euro) cheaper.

Do you mean hearse or horse? Or perhaps a sore throat?

Old models and gaps in the model line up is no way to achieve sales and turn around a financial struggle. Neither is alienating people with taking away a region's industry and leaving thousands of people out of work.

I had a Ford Mondeo 99 modelfor 4 yrs!
Loved it, well built. reliable.

Fab vehicle, those guys in Ghent know how to build cars!