Ford Confirms: No Plant Closings In Europe

BERLIN: Ford confirmed it has no plans to shut down one of its sites in Europe, despite comments by the company's head of European production that hinted at such. The head of European production, Rolf Zimmermann, told the business daily Handelsblatt newspaper that Ford had "one too many" factories in Europe. He added that, faced with overcapacity, the European car industry would begin closing factories after the year 2000. But Ford spokesman Hans-Juergen Fuchs said that a number of changes at two plants may have given rise to a misunderstanding surrounding Zimmermann's comments. At the beginning of the year, Ford Europe sold its 50% stake in the Palmela factory in Portugal to a unit of Volkswagen. But Ford-Galaxy cars continued to be made at the factory, and Ford bought the cars from VW. A further change was planned for the UK site, Halewood, where production of the Escort will cease after next summer. After that time, Jaguar, a wholly owned unit of Ford, would build its cars at the plant.

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