Ford Motor Co. will pay approximately 4,000 hourly workers at its Genk, Belgium, assembly plant a total of $750 million in separation benefits, the Dearborn automaker disclosed in a regulatory filing Tuesday.
Ford now will be able to close the facility by the end of next year as it looks to cut excess capacity to meet dwindling demand in economically challenged Europe.
The 4,000 employees will receive about $187,500 each. Ford has also begun negotiating with about 300 salaried workers.
The cost of closing the plant was expected to top $1 billion, analysts projected at Ford's announcement in October.
Ford will treat separation-related costs as special items and will exclude the payments from total company pre-tax profit.
A sovereign debt crisis and high unemployment have taken a toll on consumer confidence and automobile sales in Europe, where Ford expects to lose about $2 billion this year. Europe has experienced five consecutive years of declining vehicle sales.
Ford lost nearly $1.75 billion in Europe last year, up from previously projected losses of about $600 million in early 2012.
That prompted the company in October to announce the closings of three European plants, including Genk, in an attempt to shed nearly 20 percent of its production capacity.
The automaker also plans to close a vehicle assembly plant in Southampton, England, and stamping and tooling operations in Dagenham, England.
The moves will save the automaker a projected $450 million to $500 million a year.
European auto sales dropped 10.5 percent in February and Ford's sales total dropped more than 20 percent, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association.
Ford shares were down slightly at the market close Tuesday at $13.16.