BMW has no plans to use Mitsubishi's Dutch factory to build Minis
Ford in talks to employ workers from NedCar factory
BRUSSELS -- BMW Group says it has no plans to take over Mitsubishi's factory in the Netherlands to build cars for its rapidly expanding Mini brand.
Dutch media reports had suggested BMW had shown interest in producing Mini cars at the Japanese company's NedCar plant. The reports said the subject was discussed when BMW CEO, Norbert Reithofer met Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in January.
''The BMW Group has currently no plans for a takeover or a cooperation with the NedCar plant in the Netherlands,'' BMW said.
BMW says it does not need extra capacity for Mini even though it is expanding Mini's lineup to boost sales of the British-based brand. Last year, the Mini sales rose 21.7 percent to 285,060 units and its target is 300,000 for 2012.
A 200,000-capacity plant like NedCar's "makes no sense in our current development plans," a BMW spokeswoman told Automotive News Europe on Wednesday.
Mini has enough capacity at its Oxford factory in England, and at Magna Steyr in Austria, which builds the Mini Countryman, the spokeswoman said.
On Monday, Mitsubishi said it will end production at NedCar, its only western European plant, at the end of this year. The factory builds the Colt subcompact and the Outlander SUV and has an annual output of 200,000 units.
A company spokesman said the automaker is considering options for the factory after 2013. One option is for the factory to carry out contract manufacturing. The spokesman did not comment on reports that it is willing to sell the factory for a symbolic 1 euro.
In a separate development, Ford Motor Co. said it may employ some of NedCar's 1,500 workers after Mitsubishi winds down production. ''We have started informal discussions to see if we can take over personnel,'' Jo Declercq, spokesman for Ford's Belgian Genk factory, told Automotive News Europe.
The automaker currently builds the large S-Max and Galaxy minivans and mid-size Mondeo at the plant.
Genk in Belgium is 34 km (21 miles) from the NedCar plant Born, in the Netherlands.