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The Globe and Mail

In Pictures: Axe hovers over Ford factory in Belgium

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A cyclist rides past the main entrance of the Ford assembly plant in Genk, Belgium. Ford summoned union representatives to a meeting with European executives at 0700 GMT on Wednesday without providing an agenda, officials from three unions said on Monday.


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A car blocks the exit of the Ford assembly plant in Genk, Belgium. The scale of Ford’s losses in Europe has fuelled speculation that the auto maker will follow PSA Peugeot Citroën and Opel in announcing a major plant closing.


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If Ford shutters its assembly plant in Gent, Belgium, as many expect, it would leave the country with just two assembly plants, Volvo’s in Ghent and Volkswagen’s Audi facility in Brussels.


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A Ford spokesman declined to comment on the meeting or its purpose. ‘We will not comment on discussions with our unions,’ he said.


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The Ford plant in Genk, Belgium, employs 4,300 workers who assemble the Mondeo mid-size car and the Galaxy and S-Max minivans. Sources say Ford is preparing to build the Mondeo elsewhere.


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A worker walks past a banner reading ‘Good bye’ as he leaves the Ford assembly plant in Genk, Belgium. Shuttering the Belgian factory would cost an estimated $1.1-billion (U.S.) and generate annual savings of $730-million, an analyst estimated.


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Workers leave the Ford assembly plant in Genk, Belgium. The company called an emergency meeting with unions at the plant amid mounting expectations that the auto maker is preparing to close the factory.


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A worker adjusts a union flag at an entrance to the Ford assembly plant in Genk, Belgium. Genk’s closing, if confirmed, would be Belgium’s second car factory closing in two years, after General Motors Co. scrapped its Antwerp site in 2010.


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Ford doubled its European loss forecast to $1-billion (U.S.) in July and said action was needed to ‘decrease our production to match real demand.’


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