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Mitsu takes a swipe at ABC

As systems go: Mitsubishi's 380 in production at Tonsley Park.

Mitsubishi gives a back-hander to the ABC following its plant closure report

Mitsubishi logo3 Oct 2006

By NEIL MCDONALD

MITSUBISHI has taken a swipe at a recent ABC radio report that claimed the company had developed a secret plan to close its Tonsley Park plant.

ABC’s Radio National had claimed last month the plan involved four options to close the facility, placing 1600 workers’ jobs at risk.

It said the plan, called Project Phoenix detailed the closure of the Tonsley Park plant with an announcement next month.

After the report went to air the company’s president and chief executive officer, Rob McEniry, took the unprecedented step of personally assuring Mitsubishi workers their jobs were safe.

The dust may have settled on the story but Mr McEniry, is clearly still annoyed.

"Interestingly there were some corners of the media that I thought turned quite aggressively on the ABC," he said.

"To the extend that the ABC tried to justify it.

"I think that they were put on the defensive very quickly.

"Look, whether it’s right, wrong or indifferent I think the point that some of the journos picked up - and certainly some of the financial guys - was that each company should be looking at all options.

"It’s the responsibility of a company and good governance of a company to look at all things related to its operations."Mr McEniry said Mitsubishi was not alone in its approach to how it ran its business.

"It’s a normal operation of business to look at all aspects of its business."He stressed that Mitsubishi was not about to shut up shop locally and that it was not "solely a local manufacturer", offering a broad range of quality imported products.

"I can understand all the focus on the 380 it’s a locally produced car and it need to keep the volume going through the plant."Mitsubishi’s Tonsley Park plant has the capacity to build 190 380s a day but is currently building around 65 a day.

So far this year it has sold 8640 380s.

21 center imageLeft: Mitsubishi CEO Rob McEniry

After the ABC report the Federal Industry Minister, Ian MacFarlane, urged the union movement over the impact it was having on the company’s workers and its continued speculation about the company’s future.

"Doug Cameron (Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union national secretary) consistently fails to make any positive contribution to public debate in this country and is setting himself up as a workplace grim reaper, anxious to make political comment on any rumour," Mr MacFarlane said.

"He is certainly not thinking about the workers of Mitsubishi by adding to the current speculation but has typically leapt on unsourced speculation to seek some political and personal mileage from it."Interestingly in the week that followed the ABC report, Mitsubishi experienced one of its best order intake weeks in recent memory with orders up 8 per cent above what it normally expected to do.

As a result, Mr McEniry said that the company’s marketing department quipped that Mitsubishi should organise another information leak.

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