Production volumes at NedCar continue to drop, further clouding the outlook for the last passenger-car plant in the Netherlands.
The plant has been forced, once again, to adust its production volume downward following disappointing sales of the Smart ForFour small car.
“This year, we expect to produce 115,000 units,” said Liz Tans, spokeswoman of Mitsubishi-owned NedCar said. That volume is NedCar’s lowest since the early 1980s.
Mitsubishi and Smart parent DaimlerChrysler have a history of optimism about the sales potential of the ForFour and the Mitsubishi Colt. The cars share a platform.
Prior to market launch, Smart wanted to produce 150,000 ForFours a year; Mitsubishi targeted 100,000 Colts. The Japanese carmaker is now overtaking Smart.
The production contract of Smart at NedCar expires in 2010. But unions are worried.
D/C Chairman Jürgen Schrempp has said that loss-making Smart must break even by 2007, said Bert van Keulen, spokesman for the largest union at NedCar. “But if he fails, we would not be surprised if the ForFour would be dropped before 2010.”
Mitsubishi wants to add other models at NedCar, which has an annual capacity of 250,000 units.