Maxime Verhagen, the Netherlands' minister for Economic Affairs, has told the local media that he is in talks with BMW Group over the future of Mitsubishi Motors' NedCar plant.

A complete takeover of Nedcar is near "but we are not there yet," Verhagen, who is also the deputy prime minister, told the media earlier on 28 June.

The facility, at Born, was once a three-way joint venture between the Dutch state, Mitsubishi Motors (MMC) and Volvo Cars. MMC has since taken ownership of the plant, which builds small numbers of the outdated Colt hatchback. In February it stated that it would close NedCar at the end of 2012.

VDL, the Eindhoven-based Dutch industrial group stated recently that it would take over the plant but only if a major customer could be found. Rumours surrounding BMW Group surfaced some weeks ago but until now, there has been no confirmation

The site at Born would appear to be a logical location for the expansion of Mini production as the Group's Cowley plant near Oxford is running close to capacity and BMW has already outsourced build of the Mini Countryman to Magna Steyr.

Author: Glenn Brooks