TOKYO, July 11 (Kyodo) — Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said Wednesday it has decided to sell its vehicle plant in the Netherlands for 1 euro to Dutch bus and industrial machine maker VDL Groep BV on the condition that it will maintain some 1,500 jobs there.
The decision came as the Japanese 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 yen through the selloff.
The VDL group is planning to manufacture BMW AG's Mini brand compact cars at the plant and is in final talks with the German automaker, the sources said.
Mitsubishi 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 Dutch plant, a production site of compact cars 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. However, Mitsubishi Motors decided to withdraw from the EU amid market deterioration there with the eurozone sovereign debt crisis. The company has been shifting its focus toward emerging economies, such as Thailand, where sales are brisk.