Mitsubishi is selling its Nedcar car plant in Holland to bus maker VDL Group for just one euro. The plant is expected to now become a satellite plant for BMW to build Minis after BMW confirmed it was interested in using the plant.
It’s predicted that Mitsubishi will lose around £227million on the deal that is set to be completed by December. None of the 1500 workers will lose their jobs as a condition of the sale.
VDL confirmed it was now in discussions with BMW about it using the plant for contract manufacturing. It is expected to come back online by 2014 or 2015; around the time BMW will launch the second-generation Countryman. Magna in Austria builds the current Countryman, so a switch to Nedcar is possible given the timescales.
The sale of the Mitsubishi’s only western European car plant allows the Japanese car maker to concentrate on emerging markets, such as Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil and China, where Mitsubishi is targeting growth.
In February, Mitsubishi confirmed production of the Colt and Outalnder at Nedcar would cease by the end of the year. The factory accounts for less than five percent of Mitsubishi’s total global output, which in the last year to March was 1.1 million units.
Nedcar’s output had slipped from 200,000 cars a year to just 50,000 units a year.
Nedcar was built in 1991 as a joint venture between Mitsubishi, Volvo and the Dutch government. The Japanese firm came the sole shareholder in 2001 after buying out its partners.