Mitsubishi Closes Shop In Europe

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

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

Japan603,594-8.60%Thailand209,0038.60%China109,463-11.50%Other Asia117,33118.16%North America37,14526.50%Europe23,808-11.60%South America37,3502.60%Others2,638Global1,140,3324.70%

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.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Vance Torino Vance Torino on Feb 06, 2012

    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!

  • Doctor Detroit Doctor Detroit on Feb 07, 2012

    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.

    • Marcel B Marcel B on Feb 07, 2012

      Producing the Peugeot and Citroen was announced, but it never happened at Nedcar. Previously they were imported from Japan.

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