Volvo says this week's nationwide strike that paralysed vast swathes of Belgium will not affect its planned volumes for 2102.

The Swedish automaker has a plant with 5,000 staff at Ghent manufacturing the C30, V50, S60, XC60 and S40 models, but in conjunction with many Belgian automotive producers, halted production as mass industrial protest took place against government-imposed austerity measures.

"The factory in Belgium [was] at a complete standstill due to the national strike," a Volvo spokesman in Sweden told just-auto. "During a normal day, we produce around 1,200 cars, but since we were actually running ahead of schedule and it is early in the year, it won't have any impact on our planned volumes for the full year.

"It is the unions protesting against the government [implementing] austerity measures."

The spokesman added many Volvo white collar staff had taken a day's leave during the strike, but nobody who wanted to work had been stopped from going to the factory.

Belgium saw widespread transport chaos as the bus, railway and tram network were severely affected, while airports also saw disruption.

The country's key port of Antwerp was also badly impacted, choking one of Belgium's main supply arteries.

The employers organisation, Agoria told just-auto it estimated the strike to have cost its members, the largest proportion of whom are automotive manufacturers, around EUR50m (US$66m).

Belgian industrial unrest closely followed that in Italy last week, where a huge lorry driver blockade of the motorway network saw Fiat forced to shut down production for a week.