Dutch bus maker readies deal to buy Mitsubishi plant to build Minis for BMW
Dutch bus manufacturer VDL Group said it will discuss with BMW and Mitsubishi its plans to take over Mitsubishi's NedCar factory in the Netherlands to build cars there for BMW's Mini brand.
Mitsubishi said on on Wednesday it will sell NedCar to VDL for 1 euro ($1.23) on condition that the plant's 1,500 employees do not lose their jobs. The Japanese automaker said it expects to lose about 28 billion yen ($352.33 million) on the deal, which is slated for completion by the end of December.
VDL spokeswoman Carolien van der Leegt said it had reached an agreement with unions at the plant. "We now have to further negotiate with Mitsubishi and BMW on the terms for the takeover. The signs are good, but nothing is definitive yet," van der Leegt told Automotive News Europe.
BMW said on Monday it is interested in building Minis at the plant. Nedcar's proximity to Mini's UK factory would offer significant benefits in terms of logistics as the Mini brand expands, said Harald Krueger, BMW's board member with responsibility for Mini.
VDL wants to take over NedCar from Mitsubishi and act as a subcontractor to BMW.
Mitsubishi has said it will end production of its Colt subcompact and Outlander SUV at the plant at the end of the year.
The Dutch media, citing union sources, says VDL will reopen the factory in late 2014 or early 2015.
NedCar is in the southern town of Born near the Dutch borders with Belgium and Germany. Production started in 1991 as a three-way venture between Mitsubishi, Volvo and the Dutch government. Mitsubishi became the sole shareholder in 2001 after buying out its partners.
The plant accounted for less than 5 percent of Mitsubishi's global output of 1.1 million vehicles in the year to last March. NedCar's output had slumped to 50,000 vehicles per year compared with a peak capacity of 200,000.
Reuters contributed to this reportContact Automotive News