Mitsubishi.gif” vspace=2>Volvo Car Corporation has transferred its 50% interest in the NedCar car-producing operation in the Netherlands to its NedCar partner, Mitsubishi. The formality is a significant step in the integration of Volvo Car Company’s manufacturing activity into Ford’s international manufacturing operations. The NedCar facility will therefore lose the replacement for Volvo’s S40/V40 mid-range, but has announced that it will gain a new DaimlerChrysler model.

Following its acquisition of Volvo Cars Corporation in 1999, Ford looked for a suitable alternative to NedCar for the production of the mid-sized S40/V40 range cars on the Volvo P1 platform. It was eventually decided to make the replacement model at Volvo’s Ghent, Belgium, plant and add final assembly capacity there. The next model goes into production in 2003 and will be part of Ford’s generic lower medium car programme.

Mark Fulthorpe of CSM Worldwide said of Volvo’s P1 replacement: “It is expected that the replacements for S40/V40 will be based on Ford’s next generation lower medium platform – upgraded C170 known as C214 – with production likely to commence at Ghent in late 2003.”

Mitsubishi is planning to replace the lost Volvo output with a new model developed jointly with DaimlerChrysler.

Mr T. Sonobe, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, said: “The acquisition of this factory is a basis for our future joint production of the ‘Z car’ with DaimlerChrysler. NedCar is and will remain an important basis for our European operation.”

According to NedCar President Chris Dewulf, this share transfer will make no difference to the NedCar organisation as such. “NedCar will continue to do what we were already doing, and that is the assembly and delivery of cars and components of top quality, at agreed competitive prices and at the agreed time to our customers with optimal flexibility. Our customers will remain the same until some time in 2004. The only significant change is that we will have a new customer, DaimlerChrysler. As stated earlier, the so-called ‘Z-car project’, one of the major joint projects in the Mitsubishi Motors Corporation/ DaimlerChrysler alliance, is to be built at NedCar with an annual volume of approximately 250,000 cars”.

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Ford Strategic Review

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