French coach builder Heuliez closed its plant on Nov. 1. According to a report in French newspaper La Tribune Heuliez’s 283 workers had their last workday on Oct. 31.
Founded in 1920, Heuliez built cars for Citroën, Peugeot, Renault and Opel before running into difficulties in 2006. That’s when Opel halved the contracted volume of the Tigra TwinTop folding hardtop convertible, the only model in production at the company’s plant in Cerizay, western France, at that time. Tigra TwinTop production ended in July 2009.
The company transformed itself into a supplier of structural and body parts in 2010, but could not create a sustainable business.
Heuliez was liquidated on Sept 30, five months after filing bankruptcy for the third time in four years. The filing came after majority stakeholder Baelen Gaillard Industrie (BGI) said it could not continue financing the money-losing company. An attempt to get funding from the French government also failed.
At one time Heuliez competed in building special bodied Citroën models and concept cars for auto show displays, most notably 2 SM “Espace” show cars that featured retractable slatted sunroofs over both the driver and the front seat passenger and a 4 door SM with a rear passenger sunroof.
Heuliez also produced convertible versions of the Citroën CX.
It’s been a rough time in Europe. PSA Citroën Peugeot shut its Aulnay factory on Oct. 25, Ford stopped production at its plant in Southampton, England, on July 26 and Volvo ceased output in Udevalla, Sweden, on June 25.