Mitsubishi to close European plant

Close up of a Mitsubishi Colt
Image caption The Colt will no longer be made in Europe

Japanese car maker Mitsubishi Motors is to end production at its only plant in Western Europe.

Production has fallen at Mitsubishi's car plant at Born in the Netherlands to just 50,000 cars, as Mitsubishi's European sales have dropped sharply.

It has not yet announced plans for the site, which employs 1,500 workers making the Colt and Outlander models.

Mitsubishi cars in Europe will be imported from Japan and Thailand where the company is building a new plant.

'Fluctuating environment'

Production will stop at the factory at the end of this year.

The company had already announced plants to stop building the Colt at the plant, but had hoped to allocate a new model to the facility.

However, it said difficult economic conditions made that impossible.

"Due to the wildly fluctuating operating environment which automobile manufacturers currently face, MMC (Mitsubishi Motors) could not come up with a reasonable solution to utilise NedCar [Netherlands Car]," the company said in a statement.

The plant started in 1991 as a joint venture along with Volvo and the Dutch government, before being bought out by Mitsubishi in 2001.

Last week, the company reported a profit for the three months to the end of December after a cost cutting drive.

The firm announced third quarter net income of 13.6bn yen ($177m, £112m).

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