Mitsubishi Motors may scale down Europe output-report
TOKYO Dec 18 (Reuters) - Japan's Mitsubishi Motors Corp may scale down European auto output, with plans to stop production of its Colt subcompact in the Netherlands at the end of 2012, Asahi newspaper said on Saturday.
No one was immediately available to comment at Mitsubishi Motors. But the Japanese automaker's deadline to respond to the union at NedCar on whether to extend Colt production beyond the 2012 contract was on Friday.
NedCar has been severely underused since Mitsubishi Motors' former top shareholder Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE) pulled Smart production out of the factory that they previously operated jointly. The factory in the Netherlands produced about 50,000 vehicles in fiscal 2009, 39,000 units of Colt and about 11,000 units of Outlander spot utility vehicle (SUV), falling short of the annual capacity of 100,000 units, the Asahi report said. Mitsubishi told the employees at the Dutch factory on Thursday that it would halt Colt production from 2013 but continue Outlander output, the report said. To keep the factory, Mitsubishi will consider manufacturing cars under commission from other auto makers, the report added. The head of Mitsubishi Motors, Osamu Masuko, had said Japan's sixth-biggest automaker would announce a new mid-term business plan by the end of this month, but that looks set to be delayed after Masuko indicated this week that an announcement would come by the end of its financial year, on March 31.
Mitsubishi Motors also has a factory in the U.S. state of Illinois that is working at a fraction of its capacity.
Automotive News reported on Friday that Mitsubishi Motors' North American unit reached agreement with the United Auto Workers (UAW) on a new labour pact that sets the stage for the automaker to allocate a new vehicle platform to be built at its assembly plant in Normal, Illinois.
No details were provided in the joint statement, the trade publication said. (Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim and Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Ron Popeski)
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