More cuts in production at Ford and GM's European vehicle assembly plants have been announced.

Bernhard Mattes, head of Ford Germany, said production would be down 3% this year. Mattes said that deeper cuts are not necessary and that plants have been running at near full capacity so can accommodate some cutbacks. This year Ford is forecasting a European car market of 16.8m, but Mattes said it could go as low as 16m. Next year the company is forecasting a market of 15.5m.

Ford's engine plant in Cologne will stop for five weeks from 3 November because of slow demand in the US. 820 of 17,300 workers will be affected.

Cologne is currently hoping to win a contract to build new three-cylinder engines but is competing with a new plant in Romania. A decision should be made by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, GM's Opel is cutting production at European plants for a further two weeks, so that it can reduce output by around 40,000 units, according to local press reports.

Production will stop at Bochum (Germany), Antwerp (Belgium), Ellesmere Port, Luton (UK) and Gliwice (Poland). Lines will also stop in Trollhättan (Sweden) from Wednesday. The Kaiserslautern (Germany) component plant will also be affected. The only Opel plant not affected is Rüsselsheim (Germany).