Mitsubishi’s NedCar plant faces uncertain future image

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation hasn’t yet revealed future plans for its Dutch assembly plant after the discontinuation of the current products made there, the Colt and the Outlander SUV.

Starting in 2013, the Colt replacement will be made in Thailand, while the next-generation Outlander will be produced in Japan. This means the NedCar factory could be switched off after 44 years of activity. Its output dropped from more than 250,000 units in 1999 to about 50,000 units last year. The plant has the capacity of making 200,000 cars on two shifts.

When asked by the Automotive News Europe about the plant’s future, Mitsubishi executive vice president Gayu Uesugi said: “I can’t answer that question. It is a sensitive matter. There are many things we still have to think about.” He stressed that production outside Japan was important to the company. “Because of the too-strong yen, profit will be negative if we export just from Japan. We have to take a holistic view so that’s why it’s difficult to confirm the timing,” Uesugi added.

On the other hand, Mitsubishi Europe CEO Akinori Nakanishi said that a decision on NedCar is imminent. “We have promised unions we will get back to them early next year,” he said.