Volvo and Mitsubishi will probably continue to make cars at their NedCar joint venture plant in Born, the Netherlands. But they will not share platforms after the current generation S40/V40 and Carisma models go out of production in 2004.
'We plan to produce the next generation of small cars in a joint venture with Mitsubishi in the way we do today,' said Curt Germundsson, Volvo senior vice president for car manufacturing.
Volvo has decided the S40/V40 replacements will share components and technology with Ford. Volvo and Mitsubishi are doing a feasibility study of what synergies they can find if they do not share platforms.
Under terms of the contract signed when forming NedCar, Mitsubishi now has the right to decide whether it wants to buy out Volvo's share of the venture, or leave it altogether. But Mitsubishi and Ford both seem eager to continue.
Following a NedCar supervisory board meeting on September 27, Mitsubishi stated that 'even if both parties use separate platforms, it is possible to share production facilities such as the paint shop, which makes joint production possible at NedCar. And so negotiations will be continued.'
Germundsson said it might be possible to jointly use not just the paint shop, but also the press and trim shops. Since the plant has two assembly lines, the separate vehicles could still be built on different lines.