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Business

Automaker Ford set to close plant in Belgium

US automaker Ford looks certain to close its production facility in the Belgian town of Genk by 2014. Trade unions have said the move would cost over 4,000 jobs as Ford faces dwindling sales in Europe.

Carmaker Ford plans to close down its plant at Genk, Belgium, by the end of 2014, trade union leaders told reporters on Wednesday after a crisis meeting with local managers.

"Management has decided to close the car assembly activities in Genk at the end of the current production cycle," ACV Union Representative Luc Prenen told workers gathering outside the plant.

Unions said the closure would result in the loss of 4,300 jobs at the plant directly plus another 5,000 jobs among suppliers depending on the facility.

Fierce competition

At Genk, Ford has manufactured its mid-range Mondeo and the S-Max and Galaxy vans. The company said the closure of the plant would save the company around $500 million (385 million euros).

Ford has been fighting an unsuccessful battle to prevent its European car sales from declining further. New registrations of cars on the continent dipped by 12.6 percent year-on-year in the first nine months of 2012 as carmakers such as Dacia and Hyundai gained a bigger market share.

According to contracts signed between management and unions, there will be no layoffs for operational reasons at Ford's two German plants in Cologne and Saarlouis before the end of 2016.

hg/hc (dpa, dapd, Reuters)