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European carmakers apply the brakes

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European carmakers apply the brakes


The carnage continues among carmaker with Ford saying on Thursday that would cut its production capacity in Europe by 18 percent; that is 355,000 vehicles a year.

One day after announcing the closure of its plant at Genk, Belgium Ford says it stop making vans in Britain next year, which angered some workers there.

One said: “I’ve worked here 25 years; when I came here it was after I had been made redundant from (British electronics firm) Marconi, It is upsetting.”

Another accused Ford of not being straight with its workers: “It was a little but underhanded, I feel, I think the union were a little bit duped.”

A third was resigned saying: “Obviously I’m not happy, but it is what it is.”

Auto industry analysts said the speed of the announcements showed Ford is tackling the problem of over-capacity in Europe head-on, while other companies – such as General Motors – appear to be dithering.

“With GM Europe you always wonder what’s going on – it looks like they are still bogged down in deciding what to do,” London-based UBS analyst Philippe Houchois said.

General Motors has said it would shut a factory in Belgium in 2016 and will update its restructuring plan before the end of the month.

The resigned attitude in Britain contrasted with angry protests in France where struggling French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen plans to cut 8,000 jobs.

The company which is Europe’s second-biggest carmaker has agreed to talk with its unions over the details.

The French government wants Peugeot to limit job cuts in exchange for financial aid.

At the same time Daimler revealed it is facing problems.

The Mercedes maker said it will not be able to improve its profits next year as much as it had initially promised faced with reduced sales in Europe and stronger competition in China.

And the Italian carmaker Fiat plans to halt production for two weeks from November 26 at its southern Italian plant of Pomigliano according to a union official. That would mean more than 2,000 workers being put in a temporary layoff programme.

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