26 October 2010
Belgium's GM Antwerp Plant To Close
When GM decided to reduce capacity in Europe, panic ensued. The German government aggressively acted to ensure it wouldn't be there. UK production is already small and perhaps fearing lost sales in GM Europe's largest market saved Ellesmere Port's plant. Poland seemed safe with lower wages, Spain felt vulnerable but it was Belgium where the axe fell (Astra cars are made there). After spending much of the year trying to find a suitable investor to take its place, GM has announced the plant will close by the end of 2010.
Plant closure is difficult in Europe with politics playing a major part. There is over capacity within Europe but most manufacturers accept this is a better situation than closing factories and the ensuing negativity. GM's dire financial situation meant it was unavoidable.
What it means to me: The Belgian workers have done a good job for GM at Antwerp, but it wasn't enough to save the plant.