Mitsubishi to Say Sayonara to its European Production Facility at the End of 2012

The current economic climate being what it is in Europe, it’s no surprise that most car manufacturers see demand for their products waning. Mitsubishi is one of them, with its European sales dropping from 340,000 in 2007 to 218,000 units last year. The Japanese manufacturer’s only European assembly plant is the NedCar factory in the Netherlands. It was established in 1991 as a joint venture between Mitsubishi, Volvo and the Dutch government. It produced the Carisma and S40/V40 and, subsequently, the Space Star. Mitsubishi became the plant’s sole owner in March of 2001 and today it manufactures the Colt supermini and the Outlander SUV. The Japanese company decided in December 2010 to terminate production of the Colt at the end of 2012 and examine whether it would continue with the Outlander or allocate production to another facility from 2013 onwards. NedCar, which employs 1,500 workers, rolled out only 50,000 vehicles in 2011. This is just a quarter of its maximum annual capacity of 200,000 units – and less than 5 percent of Mitsubishi’s 1.1 million total output. In a statement released today, Mitsubishi said that “it has concluded it is not viable to allocate a new production model at NedCar” and therefore it will shut down the factory and source all vehicles it will sell to the European market from its factories in Japan and Thailand.