Eindhoven-based industrial group VDL on Monday finalised the long-awaited agreement to take over car maker Nedcar, where BMW will produce Minis from mid-2014.
Mitsubishi, which currently produces Colts at the site, is pulling out of the Nedcar plant later this year and the future of the plant had been under threat. Nedcar has a workforce of 1,500 and is a major local employer in Limburg.
The takeover will allow the VDL group to ‘further strengthen its position in the international automotive market,’ the company said in a statement.
‘From 1 January 2013 the company will become an independent car manufacturer for third parties under the name VDL Nedcar. VDL Nedcar’s first customer will be the BMW Group, ‘with which the contracts have also been signed,’ the statement said.
Nedcar is the only car manufacturing plant in the Netherlands and has capacity to build some 200,000 vehicles a year.
Staff will be laid off from the end of this year but VDL has agreed to top up unemployment benefits to current wage levels until production resumes in 2014.
Nevertheless, the position of the workers still remains vulnerable because the future of VDL still depends on one contract, manufacturing union De Unie said in a reaction. ‘Born is simply a satellite location for BMW’s plants in England,’ the union said and urged VDL to search for other contracts.