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Ford to halt Romania production on slow EU demand

A woman has a drink as she walks past a logo of carmaker Ford at the entrance to a media event for the launch of a concept car in Sydney August 13, 2013. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - The Romanian unit of U.S. carmaker Ford Motor Co (NYS:F) will halt production for 13 days in October, following a planned one week stoppage this month, due mainly to weak demand on the European market, it said on Friday.

Ford, which took over struggling carmaker Automobile Craiova in 2008, began production of its B-Max model at the plant last year. It now roughly produces 370 cars a day and 1,000 engines.

Its main exports markets are Germany, Italy, Spain and France, with Britain being its main customer.

"We're confident these are temporary measures and that the situation will improve as European vehicle sales will start to slowly recover," said Ford Romania spokeswoman Ana Maria Timis.

"Depending on the market's evolution, we will also adjust our (production) volumes in November/December."

More than half of Ford Romania's employees, or about 2,500 people, will be impacted by the production halt, but will receive 80 percent of their wages during the stoppage.

Ford, which in July lifted its 2013 guidance to an unchanged pretax loss in Europe of about $1.8 billion from $2 billion, recently closed two ancillary plants in the UK and plans to shut its Genk assembly line in Belgium at the end of 2014.

(Reporting by Ioana Patran; Editing by Radu Marinas and Mark Potter)