GERMANY: Volkswagen quits Brussels Golf assembly
Volkswagen has announced it will end production of the Golf in Forest, Brussels, concentrating production at Wolfsburg and Mosel. Other vehicles will continue to be built in Belgium, however.
In a statement, VW said it needs to "restructure the Brussels location, reflecting excess capacity in western Europe," and that "the management of Volkswagen Brussels started talks on Tuesday with the employee representatives on a corresponding concept, under which the Golf will no longer be manufactured [there]."
Volkswagen added that, having initiated a far-reaching restructuring at its German locations, the core element of which is a reduction of up to 20,000 jobs, other locations must now be incorporated into the restructuring programme.
The company said it would retain its Brussels facility. A German news agency, quoting local union sources, reported that the automaker is planning to reduce the current workforce of 5,400 by 3,500 to 4,000.
Reinhard Jung, head of production for Volkswagen, told dpa-AFX that the company could continue to employ 1,500 people at the plant.
By concentrating production of the Golf at two plants, Volkswagen is expecting to save hundred of millions of euros, according to dpa-AFX. The gain will come mainly from better capacity utilisation at Wolfsburg and Mosel.
The future of the Brussels plant is not clear. Volkswagen is negotiating with unions on the precise number of job losses, but it is difficult to see how the plant will survive long-term assembling vehicles other than the Golf - according to Audi UK, A3s, which share the Golf's platform, are also made there.
Unions representing workers at Belgian plant have been actively seeking reassurances for the future of the facility since Friday, when the Volkswagen group held a supervisory board meeting and failed to issue a clear statement on its plans for Brussels.