Ford is pulling out of Genk in Belgium with the loss of around 10,000 jobs. Workers greeted the news with tears and disbelief, having been previously told that the future of the plant was safe. Many were also bitter as the unions had accepted wage cuts two years ago.
Construction of the new Ford Mondeo which was to have been assigned to Genk, will now go to a factory in Valencia, Spain. The closure is due before the end of 2013, or early 2014 at the latest.
The plant, which has produced 14 million cars over the last 50 years, has been operating at under capacity in recent years, and in July Ford forecast European losses of $1 billion.
Renault pulled out of Belgium 15 years ago and Opel scrapped its Antwerp site in 2010 meaning that there are now only two car construction factories left in Belgium: Volvo in Ghent and VW in Brussels.