Plastic Omnium is accelerating the pace of its European bumper production downsizing with today's (6 March) news it is to shutter its fender manufacturing plant in Herentals, Belgium, this summer with the loss of 123 jobs.

The development follows the supplier's decision last November to axe bumper manufacture at its Eisenach-Thuringia plant in Germany with the loss of 200 jobs - a decision prompted by what it angrily denounced as "automakers' industrial strategies" and "persistent excess production capacity in Western Europe."

The component manufacturer says production volumes at the Herentals plant have dropped by more than half since 2007, due to declining car sales in Europe and the reduction of manufacturing capacity in Belgium by automakers.

Plastic Omnium adds the fuel tank manufacturing unit on the same site will not be affected by the plans.

Employee representatives will be consulted about the redundancies and what Plastic Omnium terms the "social implications," as required by Belgian law.

Plastic Omnium previously said it would continue to maintain a presence in Germany with nine production facilities and four development centres employing a total of 1,400 people.