Ford may delay minivan launches as Genk plant closes: report


Ford Motor Co may delay the next versions of the Galaxy and S-MAX minivans as it plans to shut a factory in Genk, Belgium, where the vehicles are made, German magazine Auto Motor und Sport reported on Wednesday.

Scrambling to cut costs and stem European losses, the U.S. manufacturer said on October 24 that it plans to close the Genk factory employing about 4,300 workers by the end of 2014 and shift production to Valencia.

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The shutdown of Genk would delay introduction of the new Mondeo mid-size car, which like the Galaxy and S-MAX, is assembled at the eastern Belgian site. All models are nearing the end of their life cycles.

Ford of Europe spokesman Adrian Schmitz declined to confirm the article, telling Reuters that the car maker "does not discuss future product programs".

"We have not communicated publicly any launch details of future CD segment models other than of Mondeo," Schmitz said.

Ford, which posted a $468 million European loss in the third quarter, expects to lose a combined $3 billion in the region in 2012 and 2013.

(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Mike Nesbit)