Mitsubishi’s Dutch treat: Selling plant for €1 ‎if workers retained

Reuters/Mal Langsdon
Mitsubishi Motors has announced it will sell its only European production facility in the Netherlands for just one euro ($1.20) and on one condition - the buyer has to keep most of the workers employed.

The plant will be bought by Dutch company VDL groep, the Japanese firm said in a statement on Wednesday.

Mitsubishi Motors said it would turn its back on the continent by the end of 2012 because of the ongoing debt crisis.

The token price of one euro sounds like a good bargain, but there are strings attached to the deal. The Japanese automaker made it clear that the buyer would have to keep all the facility's 1,500 employees.

Mitsubishi said it would sell NedCar in the Netherlands where it had been producing its Colt subcompact and the Outlander sports utility models.

But output at the Dutch facility has remained sharply below its annual production capacity of late, with only little over 40,000 units produced in 2011. In 1999 NedCar rolled out 250,000 units.

"Mitsubishi has carried out discussions with related parties to explore the possibility of the future continuation of NedCar while making it a top priority to assure the employment of its workers," the company said in a statement.

Mitsubishi's announcement came as the Dutch company VDL Groep confirmed it was in talks with German luxury carmaker BMW to produce Minis at a plant in Born some 180 kilometers (110 miles) southeast of Amsterdam.

The deal could still take several weeks. However VDL officials confirmed the workers would remain on the pay roll during talks which could take up to two years.