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Mitsubishi takes axe to European HQ

Survivor: Mitsubishi's Nedcar factory in the Netherlands has avoided the cuts that have decimated the workforce at Mitsubishi's European office.

Plunging sales prompt cost-cutting at Mitsubishi Motors Europe

Mitsubishi logo24 Mar 2009

MITSUBISHI has reacted to plunging European sales by gutting its Netherlands-based European office and merging what’s left with its nearby parts and accessories operation.

Almost half of the workers will be retrenched when the bulk of Mitsubishi Motors Europe (MME) operations are transferred back to Japan.

The group’s Nedcar assembly operation will be unchanged.

Announcing the restructuring, the company said it would enable Mitsubishi to better manage the transformation of its image from an SUV nameplate to a supplier of environmentally friendly passenger cars.

The latest shake-up is part of a restructuring that started when Mitsubishi consolidated its design and engineering functions to Japan as part of a switch in policy away from regional cars to global cars.

All of MME’s car-related functions – and distributor relations – will be moved back to Japan after it was considered that the staff of 335 people at Mitsubishi Motors Europe was too large for the shrinking European sales volumes.

In fact, 45 per cent of MME’s white-collar workers will lose their jobs in the reorganisation.

The plan is to repatriate all vehicle-related functions – sales, marketing, product management and business planning – back to Japan, including responsibility for liaising with Mitsubishi’s 34 European distributors.

“This alignment with (Mitsubishi Motors Corporation’s) global organisation is meant to better develop MMC’s presence in its most important global business region through better efficiencies and a direct connection with the European markets and customers,” the company said in a statement.

Support functions such as logistics, planning and ordering, finance and human resources will stay with MME, while the parts and accessories sales and marketing, technical service and training will be moved to MME’s parts distribution centre in Born, near Masstricht, in the Netherlands.

The leaner MME will also be moved to Born and its Schipol head office shut.

“Whilst successful (and non-stop profitable between 2003 and 2007), MME’s sales were nonetheless down 18 per cent between 2007 and 2008 (from 200,045 to 164,462 units) with a further decrease expected for 2009,” Mitsubishi said in a statement.

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