Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said Wednesday it will sell its vehicle plant in the Netherlands for €1 (about ¥97) to Dutch bus and industrial machine maker VDL Groep BV on condition that it retain the jobs of nearly 1,500 workers there.
The automaker apparently deemed it less costly than dismissing all the workers and scrapping the plant. The company estimates it will incur a loss of about ¥28 billion through the selloff.
The VDL group is planning to manufacture BMW’s Mini brand compacts at the plant and is in final talks with the German automaker, sources said.
Mitsubishi Motors terminated production at the plant in February, marking the end of its production in the European Union. It had since been looking for a buyer for the plant.
The plant, a production site for compacts and sport utility vehicles, came online in 1991 as a joint venture of Mitsubishi Motors and Swedish auto giant Volvo and became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Japanese automaker in 2001.
Mitsubishi Motors decided to withdraw from the EU as the market deteriorated with the outbreak of the sovereign debt crisis. The company has been shifting its focus toward emerging economies, including Thailand, where sales are brisk.