Ford is rejecting as "unfounded" a claim from the City of Genk for EUR61m (US$84m) in what some are speculating is lost future taxation receipts.

The US automaker is due to shutter its Genk plant in Belgium next year, with the direct loss of 4,300 jobs, with this figure potentially rising to 10,000 once the impact on the supply chain is factored in.

As well as the City of Genk claim, it is also understood the Flemish Government is looking for EUR43m compensation in relation to grant assistance to Ford, with the American manufacturer believed to be in discussions with the authorities concerning the situation.

It is thought the City's claim is founded on a loss of revenue from future taxation had Ford remained at the Genk plant until 2020, although separate closures such as those at Southampton and Dagenham in the UK, were not subject to similar compensation.

"We reject the City of Genk's claim as unfounded," a Ford Europe spokesman told just-auto from Cologne. "We have nothing further to add."

Ford is currently in discussion with the Flemish Government as to the future of the Genk site, whose future remains unclear.

The Genk plight has echoes of the closure of General Motors' Antwerp plant in December, 2010, that resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs and triggered a lengthy dispute between the automaker, city authorities and the port.

"We are in discussion with the Flemish Government - we can confirm constructive discussions are ongoing between Ford and the future of the Genk site," said the Ford spokesman. "We own the land and the buildings."

Ford adds it will continue production at Genk "right through to the end of next year," building around 500 models per day using one shift.

The ABVV union - closely involved in negotiations for its members at the Genk site - said it was more concerned with securing future employment for its members than getting into a "political" fight.

"The only thing they should do is find some overtaker [buyer] for there," ABVV union Limberg region leader, Rhonny Champagne, told just-auto from Belgium.

"Don't get into politics - make sure our guys find some work."

Unions have cautioned unemployment could soar by as much as 30% in the region following the US automaker's decision to shutter its plant in 2014 and which will come as a further blow to the Limburg region of Belgium, that suffered a series of coal mine closures in the 1980s.

The Flemish Government was not immediately available to comment, although City of Genk Mayor, Wim Dries, is due to contact just-auto later today to discuss the situation.

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