Car production slumps

Car production at the three major car makers active in Belgium fell by a quarter during the past year. Audi, Volvo and Ford produced 171,000 fewer cars.

The figures come from the Francophone business paper L'Echo.

Car production in Belgium slumped from 688,000 to 517,000 cars in the course of 2009.

At Ford Genk that focuses on the manufacture of larger vehicles like the S-Max production was down 36%. At Audi in Brussels production fell from 86,000 to 63,000 vehicles. At Opel in Antwerp production dipped under 100,000 as a result of the end of production of the Astra model.

Volvo, the only make to show little change, manufactured 181,000 vehicles. Volvo managed to buck the market thanks to the success of its C30, S40 and V50 models.

Sales figures were mainly depressed during the first half of 2009. In the second half of the year there was an improvement.

Wilson De Pril of Agoria told L'Echo that production levels in Belgium are starting to assume alarming levels: "Innovation remains possible thanks to subcontractors."