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Ford Plant in Germany to Halt Work for Eight Days by July

Ford Motor Co., the second-biggest U.S. carmaker, will suspend production at its plant in Cologne, Germany, for as many as eight days before the summer break starts in July because of falling sales in southern Europe.

Ford will decide later on any additional days of production stoppages through October, Ragah Kamel, a spokeswoman at the U.S. company’s European headquarters in Cologne, said in a phone interview today. The cutbacks affect 4,000 of the roughly 17,500 employees at the factory, she said. Summer vacation at the plant is scheduled for July and August.

The manufacturer will apply for government assistance to make up for the curtailed hours and will pay additional compensation, Ford said in a statement. The plant, which makes the Fiesta small car, is scheduled to build 345,000 vehicles this year, roughly 6 percent fewer than in 2011, Kamel said.

More than 85 percent of the Cologne plant’s production volume is exported and, “with an average utilization of 85 percent, the plant is still relatively busy,” she said. No similar measures are planned at Ford’s other German manufacturing site in Saarlouis, she said.

The cutback was reported late yesterday by Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger, which said Ford planned as many as 16 days without production from May through October.

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