A union leader says that Ford Motor Company's European market chief won't make any comment about rumors surrounding its Genk, Belgium, assembly plant, a facility that builds three models and employs 4,337 workers.
The plant is one of Ford's larger global production facilities, but the automaker has said that it needs to cut vehicle production in the face of slackening demand in recession-stricken Europe.
"We asked about the [plant closure] rumors," union official Luc Prenen told Reuters. "They said they could neither confirm nor deny them."
Odell has remained vague on the issue. Last week, he told reporers that Ford is "looking at all elements of the business, including cost."
Although Ford is remaining mum on specifics, a Wall Street Journal report said that the automaker is working on a restructuring plan in Europe. Ford has forecast a $1 billion loss for the year in Europe, a stark contrast to its improved fortunes at home.
Ford builds its Mondeo midsize sedan and S-Max and Galaxy MPVs at the Genk plant not far from Belgium's border with the Netherlands. The plant opeend in the 1960s and today its workforce trails only the company's Saarlouis plant in Germany in terms of overall size. With nearly 4,400 workers on its payroll, the plant employs more than any of Ford's assembly facilities in the United States.
Genk's future hinges on where Ford decides to build its next-generation Mondeo, which is sold in North America as the Fusion.
The Genk plant has long been rumored for closure in part because Belgium's unions don't have as much leverage as their equivalents in Britain and German.