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="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> 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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  • Matt Posky Biden policies have pumped billions of tax dollars into an industry that Tesla previously dominated during the Trump administration. Even though Tesla also benefits from those subsidies, Musk was always against them and I believe the reason was because it was allowing the government to appoint winners in a market Tesla was totally dominating. The rest has to be purely political. Musk didn't like how California Democrats came after him during 2020, demanding factory closures. He's repeatedly said he wants to move all of his businesses to Texas since then -- claiming that it was a freer and more open market. It does seem counter intuitive for Musk to back Trump until we consider how Tesla loses its advantage as more government money goes toward legacy automakers that are now rivals in the EV space.
  • Mike Tim, Whats the point? You can take everything he says literally, "fact check" it but youll be here for a while. He is correct when he says these things as well. "I'm all for electric cars, but you have to have all of the alternatives also." “You can’t just go to electric" “This plant, we just walked through this plant and the electric vehicles are gonna put [automakers] out of business,” Trump said. “They don’t need any of this. The things that you make in Michigan, they don’t need any of it.” "we should sell electric, but we should also sell a combustion engine gasoline cars. We can sell hybrids. The hybrids are fine. We should be able to buy everything. Some people might like an electric car. We should be able to buy an electric car." "And by the way, I have no problem with all electric. I think it's great. And you can buy electric, I think it's fine. They don't go far. They have problems. They don't work in the cold. They don't work in the heat. There's a lot of problems." "What's happening in Detroit is very sad because electric cars with this EV mandate, which is ridiculous, because they don't go far. They cost too much and they're going to be made in China. They're all going to be made in China." "Despite colossal government subsidies Ford alone is projecting to lose an astonishing $4.5 billion on electric vehicles. Why are they agreeing to this? This is what I don’t understand. Why are they agreeing to it? Why does Ford and … Why are they all agreeing to this? The cars aren’t selling. They got them all over the place. You can buy them for peanuts. Why are they not fighting and saying, It doesn’t work.?" "If you want to buy an electric car, that’s absolutely fine. I’m all for it. But we should not be forcing consumers to buy electric vehicles." "And I’m not saying you can’t buy an electric car. If you want to buy an electric car or a hybrid or an all gasoline car or a truck, that has to be your choice. You should have that choice. It’s great, right? I could see electric cars working great for certain uses. Short term, short distance uses. We have unlimited gasoline, remember that, we have unlimited. China doesn’t. We have unlimited gasoline. For 500 years we have gasoline, more than any other country in the world." "Right now, electric cars don’t go far enough and they’re just far, far too expensive, and people aren’t going to be able to afford them." "I also want choice for cars. If somebody wants gasoline, if somebody wants all electric, they can do whatever they want." "Number two, the electric cars are much more expensive and they don’t go far enough. So if somebody wants to take a little bit of a long — just like the trucks. If somebody wants to take a little bit of a long ride, let’s go to Maine, or let’s go to Kentucky from New York, let’s — you can’t do it. I mean, you have to stop all the time. They don’t go far enough. They’re very expensive. They have a lot of drawbacks. Now, with that being said, some people are going to want them. Some people are going to travel short distances. What they’re doing with our trucking industry is a disaster, because they want all electric trucks. And a truck on a — with a large tank, large gasoline or diesel capacity, can go up to 2,000 miles. An electric truck goes 300 miles. So, what are these guys going to do? They’re going to, they’re going to stop every 300 miles and recharge their truck and spend three hours?"
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