Tag Archives: Belgium

Ford plant in Belgium cries “Welkom Tesla”

Welkom Tesla TeslaMondo

Now that Ford has pulled the plug on its plant in Genk, Belgium — the latest in a series of blows to the region — the locals are trying to ring the red phone in Elon’s office and pitch the Genk plant as a European retrofit opportunity, akin to what Tesla did with the old Toyota/GM plant in Fremont, CA.

Tesla already has two plants in Tilburg, Netherlands — one operating and one under construction — but they’re just “final assembly” plants, not “build from scratch” like in Fremont.

Tesla foresees Europe buying as many Teslas as the US, and it plans to expand to full production in Europe at some point, likely when it sells 160k units per year. Slovakia and Tesla have been chatting about a full factory, and the Slovak Economy Ministry is thrilled to tell the press all about it. Well, now the Belgians have launched a new site called “Welkom Tesla,” aimed at convincing Tesla to take over the Belgian Ford plant and usher in the 21st Century. So far the site contains little except reader comments. Among the comments is this mayday letter sent to Elon some years ago. It sums up the thinking behind the initiative. This is filtered through Google Translate, so it might actually be about a new waffle recipe or something:


Dear Mr. Musk,

Being an engineer designs a car an enthusiast for years, I am Following the development of the Tesla products from the early beginning.

Last week, Ford Company Announced the closure of Their plant at Genk, Belgium, near the German border. The Genk plant used to be the crown jewel of Ford Europe with the production of the three European top range models: Mondeo, S-Max and Galaxy. The news constitutes a black day for the economy in the province of Limburg, only 50 miles from the European capital of Brussels. In Addition to the more than 4,300 jobs at Ford Genk resolves itself, more than 5,000 jobs are threatened at Ford Genk’s suppliers.

About Production in times of economic crisis and recession has hit the Genk plant hard in recent years. Ford Genk is Currently only working at 65% capacity (max. 350,000 cars / y). Although salary costs are 5% lower and productivity is higher than in Germany, Ford Decided to close down their best performing European plants, since only 4% of the production was for the internal, Belgian market. The closure will have a minor effect on the image of the company in Europe, since only Belgium is affectedness ..

The value of the Ford plant in Genk is accurate estimated at 40 million €. The Belgian and Flemish government will probably negociate to buy the the state-of-the-art production plant with excellent logistic facilities for one, symbolical euro, in order to develop the area with new, innovate technology. They used to do the same (successfully) with the former Renault plant in Vilvoorde 15 years ago.

The best thing That could happen to make forget the suffering traditional car market and to support the boosting innovative renewable energy sector in the heart of Europe is the presence of an Innovative and taking the lead company.

I think it’s Tesla-time now.

Thanks a lot for your attention. Maybe it’s worth it to take contact with our Prime Minister Kris Peeters. http://www.flanders.be/en/enterprise-and-investment 
Hope to hear from you soon in the European press.

Best regards, 
Lieven SmeyersBat phone TeslaMondo

This brewing competition between European countries echoes the Gigafactory competition we witnessed in the United States, except without any official solicitation from Tesla — which indicates Europe is desperately looking to Tesla as a new industrial superhero. This certainly bodes well for incentive packages, should Tesla decide to make a move.

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