23 October 2015

Mature Market Vehicle Production : Belgium

The Volvo XC60 is made in Belgium

Belgium is a nation that has no car brands of its own but still a sizable industry...well it did. The chart below shows that over a million vehicles were often assembled in a year. However, with the departure of SEAT, VW and GM, volumes weren't the same. Ford has now left too, meaning that for 2015 only Volvo and Audi cars will still be made there. Some didn't count GM's total anyway as the assembly was light enough to be counted to Germany. The figures below assign them to Belgium.

For commercial vehicle numbers, Ford ceasing production volume there suffered too. Now it is mainly Volvo trucks that give Belgium a reasonable presence in that area.

Year Vehicle Cars CVs % CV

1980 923,000 882,000 41,000 4.4%

1985 1,033,000 986,000 47,000 4.5%

1990 1,252,000 1,160,000 92,000 7.3%

1995 1,272,000 1,168,000 104,000 8.2%

2000 1,033,000 912,000 121,000 11.7%

2005 926,000 895,000 31,000 3.3%

2010 555,000 529,000 26,000 4.7%

2014 517,000 482,000 35,000 6.8%

Summary: While on the surface of it things look bleak, there is an upside. What is still made here is higher value premium cars so the extra profit margins for such models are an advantage. Car makers won't be as likely to send production to a lower wage country. So things should be stable from here on, as stable as anything is in manufacturing. 

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