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Ford to Close Belgium Plant With 9,500 Jobs

After 50 years, the U.S. carmaker is calling it quits there


Factories aren’t forever. Even well-established, long-term manufacturing plants face the inevitable eventually.

Ford Motor (NYSE:F) announced plans to shut down its Genk, Belgium, plant at the end of 2014. Citing a slowing of European auto sales, the carmaker decided to close the plant as a part of its overall European restructuring.

More than 9,500 jobs will be lost in the shutdown. Ford directly employs 4,500 at the plant, and another 5,000 workers at subcontractors will be out of jobs. Ford has committed to working with its unions to try to identify alternatives to the shutdown.

However, analysts don’t think that’s likely. Ford already has excess manufacturing capacity on the continent and is expected to lose more than $1 billion there this year.

The plant has been in place for 50 years. Recently, Belgian officials committed almost $75 million to keep Ford there. They’re now seeking ways to recover that money from Ford.

Production from the Genk plant, which made the Mondeo, Galaxy and the S-MAX minivan, will be moved to a plant in Valencia, Spain.

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