ANTWERP -- Mitsubishi is willing to sell its Nedcar factory in the Netherlands for a symbolic 1 euro, according to Dutch Economics Minister Maxime Verhagen. In return for this sum a buyer would have to guarantee that the 1,500 workforce would keep their jobs.
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.
Mitsubishi has told Verhagen that it would be be willing to sell NedCar for 1 euro if a buyer guarantees employment for all the existing workforce, Verhagen's spokesman Bart Visser told Automotive News Europe.
Verhagen plans to travel to Japan toward the end of the month to discuss the options for NedCar.
NedCar's output has slumped to 50,000 vehicles a year compared with peak capacity of 200,000. Speculation had been rife that Mitsubishi could close the plant after it said it would stop making the Colt in Europe at the end of 2012.
A Mitsubishi Motors Europe spokesman said: "At this moment we have not talked about Nedcar's closure, but instead about not bringing a new car to NedCar after 2012. We are now starting a phase of discussions to see what to do there from 2013 onwards, including third party work."
The spokesman added: "We also heard what Mr. Verhagen said, but we are in no position to comment on it yet."
Verhagen said the Dutch government will not provide subsidies to keep the plant running. "This would not be a good solution in the long run,' he told the Dutch radio station BNR.
NedCar, based in Born, 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.