By Euro Weekly News Media • 10 May 2013 • 9:42
BRIGHT FUTURE: Staff at the Almussafas plant with the last Ford Fiesta built at the plant and the prototype of the new Kuga they now assemble.
EIGHTY-SEVEN European car factories have closed in the last two years, with further closures expected. Ford’s Almussafes plant just outside Valencia city has emerged unscathed from restructuring although the Detroit-based company is closing factories in Dagenham and Southampton in the UK as well as the Genk plant in Belgium.
Ford recently invested €582 million in Almussafes, preparing the plant for Transit Connect production, scheduled to begin in June.
Production at Almussafes is expected to increase by 80 per cent when it takes over the Mondeo, S-Max and Galaxy models currently produced at Genk.
The Valencian plant’s flexibility, its harmonious relations with the unions and last year’s changes in Spanish labour laws all combine to stand it in good stead, industry insiders said.
The recent agreement between the management and the works committee was approved by 70 per cent of employees. It guarantees stability for the next five years in exchange for a wage restraint pact that paves the way for resumed night shifts and 1,000 new jobs.
Spain is Europe’s fifth most important car manufacturer after Germany, France, Russia and Italy.
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