By on February 6, 2012

It used to be that “produce where you sell” is the answer to the rising yen. Amongst Japanese car manufacturers, Japan’s Godzilla currency is regarded as a bigger threat than any natural disasters. Mitsubishi is opposing this trend. It announced today that it will stop making cars in Western Europe. On closer inspection, this fits the “produce where you sell” strategy quite nicely. Mitsubishi is not doing so well in the Old Country. The Nikkei [sub] penned press-release worthy material when it wrote:

“Contending increasing international competition being compounded by the stubbornly strong yen, the Japanese car maker will stop production at its Netherlands Car BV unit by the end of 2012 as it strives to step up optimizing its global manufacturing operations to focus more on emerging markets.” 

Mitsubishi’s Nedcar plant is located in Born, in a part of the country that was called “the appendix of the Netherlands” by some of its neighbors, until the fall of visible borders made such ribbing superfluous. More irritatingly, the plant has an annual output capacity of 100,000 vehicles, but NedCar had only produced 23,808 vehicles by the end of 2011, as company data say.

Mitsubishi Global Production 2011

Japan 603,594 -8.60%
Thailand 209,003 8.60%
China 109,463 -11.50%
Other Asia 117,331 18.16%
North America 37,145 26.50%
Europe 23,808 -11.60%
South America 37,350 2.60%
Others 2,638
Global 1,140,332 4.70%

A look at this table shows why Mitsubishi is focused on the emerging markets. In calendar 2011 Mitsubishi’s total global production stood at 1,140,332 units, down 2.8 percent from the prior year. A little bit more than half of that was produced in Japan. In most other established markets, Mitsubishi produces only in homeopathic dosages.

In Western Europe, Mitsubishi currently builds the Colt compact and the Outlander SUV in Born, it imports the rest. In 2011, Mitsubishi sold a total of 95,225 units in the EU, the second lowest result of automakers tracked by Europe’s manufacturer association ACEA. In the U.S., Mitsubishi sold 79,020 units in 2011, up 42 percent from 2010.

Mitsubishi told the Nikkei that it will not retreat from Europe. The common market will be supplied with vehicles coming from Japan and Thailand.

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17 Comments on “Mitsubishi Closes Shop In Europe...”

  • avatar
    The Doctor

    So how does Nissan continue to churn out Kumquats from its plant in Sunderland and remain profitable?

  • avatar

    nissan’s UK plant has 3 shifts a day, and is producing at full capacity (500k units a year)

  • avatar

    Anyone else wanna wager on how high the % of Mitsubishi Motors’ profits come from IP licensing/tooling (esp. engine and transmissions) to Chinese automakers? They’ve retreated from Australia and Europe and are all but nonexistent in the US (nearly all of those production numbers for MMNA and 100% of the gains came from fleet dumping Galants, Eclipses and Endeavors – trust me on this).

    Talk about management whistling Dixie while the ship sinks… They have untold technological know-how (at least, they used to…) and solid platforms, along with massively underutilized production capacity across the globe. Why they don’t spend SOMETHING on R&D is beyond me. It’s like they just stopped funding that department around 2003 and never looked back. I know the Daimler de-merger hurt badly (not to mention Olivier Boulay’s God-awful design era), but that was several years later and you’d think they’d have recovered by now.

    It’s just getting harder and harder to root for them. They aren’t even trying any longer, at least in established markets.

  • avatar

    Stopping US production has to be next.

  • avatar

    So where’s Carlos Ghosn when a nice car company needs him?

    Good luck Mitsubishi – it looks like there’s no one at the wheel!

  • avatar
    Vance Torino

    Oh, sad day! The last Dutch car! The last vestige of the great Netherlands automobile industry! (OK, it was just DAF)… gone forever…

    That said, “NEDCAR” wasn’t Mitsubishi’s baby. Mitsubishi probably didn’t even really want it, but just sort of inherited it.

    DAF got bought up by Volvo in the ’70s to get its hands on a front wheel drive compact, and Volvo teamed up with Mitsubishi at NEDCAR in the ’90s to get its hands on MODERN front wheel drive technology, resulting in the FIRST AND ONLY Dutch-built car ever sold in America… The ’95-’04 first generation Volvo S40/V40.

    Of course, when Volvo got sold off, neither Ford nor Geely wanted to touch this high-cost plant, and Mitsubishi got stuck with the cast-off orphan.

    (ASIDE: Funny that former niche European car makers like DAF, Volvo, and SAAB/Scania bailed out of the car business, but remain significant players in global commerical trucks…)

  • avatar
    Vance Torino

    Also, do they still make “Spykers”? Or did Victor Muller take his ball, say “Flikken op” and go home?

    (Actually, I think he pawned Spyker for SAAB cash. To NORTH STREET “We Have A Webpage Now” CAPITAL!)

    Since it hasn’t been on Top Gear, I’ve never heard of it.
    Looking at the pictures now…. Nah, My friend, I’ve seen CARS, and THAT, sir, is NOT A CAR.

    Even as a man burdened with a proud, eye-glazing Dutch surname… Wow. Donkervoort?

    Should scare the crap out of Pagani, Gumpert, and whoever Kamal Siddiqi (just brought Bristol!) is!

    Then, again… Nah.

  • avatar

    Chinese buyers are standing by……

  • avatar
    Vance Torino

    Almost forgot… SPYKER!

    Which Victor Muller may or may not have pawned off to NORTH STREET “We have a webpage now” CAPITAL in exchange for some sweet, succulent cash to flush down SAAB’s toilet.

    Also built in a shed in Flevoland!

    Keep holding the torch, Albert!

  • avatar
    Doctor Detroit

    Mitsubishi’s Nedcar plant also produced the Puegeot 4007 and Citroen C-crosser. Production moves to PSA Mitsubishi’s new plant in Kaluga Russia. Closing an old 100k unit factory in western Europe after opening a new one with 160k capacity in eastern Europe is hardly a step back.

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