The last car produced at PSA/Peugeot-Citroen's Aulnay site -- a Citroen C3 subcompact -- has rolled off the assembly line at Aulnay. The C3 is the 8,568,391st car built at the site. Since 2012, its production has slowed down dramatically due to strikes that followed an announcement that year that PSA will close the four-decade-old site.
Tanja Sussest, leader of the biggest union at the site, remarked that the production of the last car at the site is an important moment that its workers plan to witness, as turns a page on Aulnay site's history. Sussest remarked that being present on the final day "will allow people to mourn and realize this has come to an end." PSA is not the only carmaker closing plants to stay profitable. According to CM-CIC Securities, a site needs to operate at 80 percent of capacity to be profitable.
IHS Automotive estimates that European sites can produce nearly 26 million cars annually, which is around 7 million more than what they are building and customers will purchase. Carmakers need to match capacity with demand, and this would entail shutting down 18 sites the size of PSA’s Aulnay plant. Workers, however, would be opposing these closures.
Ford announced in 2012 that it would close three sites in Europe and cut 5,700 jobs, while General Motors' Opel unit remarked in December 2012 that it would shut down its 3,100-strong Bochum site in Germany. Fiat has already shut down Termini Imerese site in Sicily in 2011.
All shutdowns met oppositions from unions, who in turn pressured local politicians to slow or stop the moves. Workers at Ford’s Belgium site briefly held hostage a manager, while unions in Bochum have managed to delay GM's plans. Fiat's workers at its Sicily site are still receiving their salaries despite its closure. [source:PSA]