Weak demand in Europe prompts Ford to halt Fiesta production in Germany

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 25, 2012

Ford Motor Co. will stop production at its Cologne facility in Germany for several days from now until October over the weak demand in the southern European region. Under a subsidized government program, German unit Ford-Werke has applied for approval to shorten the worker's hours, according to a spokesperson at Ford.

He disclosed that the total number of days for the plant to shut down operations is still not clear. However, he stated that there would be eight days of production stoppage through the middle of July. Moreover, around 4,000 employees will be affected, the spokesperson disclosed.

Cologne daily newspaper Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger earlier reported that production of the Fiesta subcompact hatchback in the Cologne facility would decline by at least 6% to 345,000 units this year. The automaker has yet to comment on the report. Bernhard Mattes, Ford Germany chief, informed Reuters in March that the automaker would cut production at its Cologne and Saarlouis manufacturing facilities in Germany. He did not provide details.

In March, the sales of Ford in the 27-member EU states and Norway, Iceland and Switzerland declined 7.6% to 131,410 in a total market that’s down 6.6% to its lowest monthly sales in 14 years. Among the national markets, the rate of sales drop increased in much of southern Europe with sales down to 27% in Italy, 4.5% in Spain and 23% in France. Severity measures that the governments introduced as a result of the sovereign-debt crisis in the region resulted to the drop in consumer confidence, hitting new-car sales.

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