The latest development in this ongoing saga that is the European economic crunch is word that Ford will shutter production of its Genk Assembly Plant in Belgium, eliminating some 4,300 positions. Ford could potentially reduce costs by $300 to $500 million annually as a resulting of closing the production facility. The Genk plant currently produces the Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy vehicles. Assembly of these vehicles would cease at the plant by the end of 2014.

According to Ford, it lost $404 million in the European market. Its losses in Europe for the year have been estimated anywhere from $1 billion to 1.5 billion.

Ford's European production capacity could be reduced by 15 to 20 percent by closing the plant, according to Morgan Stanley Research. And Itay Michaeli, an analyst at Citi Investment Research, explained that the closure of the Belgian plant won't improve Ford's profits. In fact, the costs associated with closing the plant could be close to $1 billion.

But, According to Ford, it needs to restructure to combat slow sales in Europe. In a press release from the company, it is said that production of the Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy could move to Ford's Valencia, Spain facility. It is also said that production of the C-MAX and Grand C-MAX could move from Valencia to Saarlouis, Germany, in 2014. Ford says is will divulge further restructuring details tomorrow. In the meantime, check out the press release regarding Ford's European plans below.
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Ford Plans to Restructure European Manufacturing Operations

-Ford starts consultation process in Belgium on plan to close its Genk Plant and to cease vehicle production by the end of 2014

-The plan, pending the outcome of the consultation process, could result in the transfer of the next-generation Ford Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy to Ford's Valencia Plant in Spain

-Pending further study, production of the C-MAX and Grand C-MAX compact multi-purpose vehicles could move from Valencia to Saarlouis, Germany, in 2014 under the proposed plan.

-Company to provide more details of its overall transformation plan for Europe during a financial analyst and media conference call Thursday

COLOGNE, Germany, Oct. 24, 2012 – Ford Motor Company today announced a proposal to restructure its Europe manufacturing operations as part of its comprehensive plan to respond to structural market changes and deliver profitable growth in the region.

Ford announced its plans to end production at a major production plant in Genk, Belgium, by the end of 2014, pending the outcome of a consultation process with employee representatives. If the plan is confirmed, Ford would resource several vehicles to more fully utilize its European plants.

The plan would help to address manufacturing overcapacity stemming from a more than 20 percent drop in total industry vehicle demand in Western Europe since 2007. New vehicle sales in the region have reached a nearly 20-year low this year and are expected to remain flat or fall further next year.

"The proposed restructuring of our European manufacturing operations is a fundamental part of our plan to strengthen Ford's business in Europe and to return to profitable growth," said Stephen Odell, chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe.

"We understand the impact this potential action would have on our work force in Genk, their families, our suppliers and the local communities. We fully recognize and accept our social responsibilities in this difficult situation and, if the restructuring plan is confirmed, we will ensure that we put in place measures and support to lessen the impact for all employees affected," Odell said.

The proposed plan includes the following:

-Ford has initiated an information and consultation process with representatives of employees regarding the company's intention to close Ford's underutilized Genk Plant and cease vehicle production by the end of 2014 with the reduction of approximately 4,300 positions

-If the proposed plan is confirmed, production of the next-generation Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy could move to Ford's assembly plant in Valencia, Spain

-Pending further study, production of the C-MAX and Grand C-MAX compact multi-purpose vehicles could move from Valencia to Saarlouis, Germany, in 2014 under the proposed plan

Ford also announced today that it will provide more details of its overall transformation plan for Europe during an analyst and media call on Thursday, Oct. 25. Participants will be Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally, Ford Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks and Stephen Odell.

The presentation (listen-only) and supporting materials will be available at www.shareholder.ford.com. Representatives of the investment community and news media will have the opportunity to ask questions by phone following the presentation.