In July of this year, Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) announced the beginning of production at its plant in Craiova, Romania, after spending more than €500 million to retool the plant that it acquired in 2008. This morning Bloomberg reports that production at the plant will be cut in half, from 500 vehicles a day to 250 vehicles a day.
That should be no big surprise. Europe has been a difficult market for car makers for more than a year now, and there is not a lot of optimism about the near future either. Ford recently has announced closures of plants in the United Kingdom and Belgium. And General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) would dearly love for someone to take the company’s Opel/Vauxhall division off its hands.
How big a deal is the Ford Romanian slowdown? In 2008, the company said the Craiova plant’s capacity would be 300,000 vehicles and engines annually. Today’s announced production cut means only 30,000 vehicles will be built in the next year. How or whether the slowdown will affect engine production is not clear.
Shares of Ford are trading up about 0.6% in the premarket this morning, at $10.98 in a 52-week range of $8.82 to $13.05.