Automotive News Europe reports that Ford is set to close two more facilities in Europe as it braces for losses in excess of $1.5 billion in the region. The move will see Ford reduce its production capacity by around 355,000 vehicles and slash its workforce by 6,500 employees. The automaker says it will close both the Southhampton and Dagenham, UK facilities next year. Those plants will mark the second and third European closings for Ford, following the announcement that the manufacturer intends to shutter the Genk Assembly Plant in Belgium.
The report says the Southhampton facility produced less than 30,000 Transit vans last year. Compare that figure to the 200,000 unit industry standard for a plant of that size, and it's easy to see the logic behind the Ford decision. Right now, the company's European factories are operating at approximately 63-percent of total capacity, due in part to the fact that sales in the region have fallen to a 20-year low. As a result, sales have dropped by 12 percent this year alone. Industry-wide, European sales have slackened by 7.2 percent.