Peeters set on protecting Ghent factory's interests during visit to Volvo Cars
Flemish minister-president Kris Peeters CD&V leaves for Göteburg today to meet with the top management of the Swedish carmaker Volvo. He hopes to win more information about the future plans of the car manufacturer, that was taken over by the Chinese Geely, and the future of its key production plant in Ghent. Following talks with Volvo Car Corporation board members and CEO Hakan Samuelsson, he will be taken on a guided tour of the company. Keen to protect the interests of the Ghent factory, he will explain the Flemish government’s New Industrial Policy to his hosts. Despite his insistence that Volvo Cars Ghent has no cause for concern, Peeters plans to keep abreast with the carmaker’s movements. Volvo Cars Ghent, with its staff of 5 000, manufactures the popular V40, S60 and XC60 models and is the biggest carmaker in Belgium, assembling even more cars than the Swedish Volvo plants. The carmaker’s ambitious plans cannot hide potential threats for the Ghent factory, which dropped production from five to three models last year. The Ghent car plant lost the C30, C40 and V50 in return for the V40. To make things worse, Ghent also lost the exclusive construction of the S60 and Volvo Cars started to invest seriously in China as well. 2013 and 2014 will be crucial for the long term future of Volvo Cars Ghent as Volvo is developping a new technology platform replacing that of the former parent company Ford. It will take considerable investments to build the new models of the new production platform in Ghent as well.