Nedcar car factory in serious trouble: 5000 jobs at risk |...

Nedcar car factory in serious trouble: 5000 jobs at risk |...
Nedcar car factory in serious trouble: 5000 jobs at risk |...

Car manufacturer BMW no longer wants to produce Mini Countrymans in the Limburg car factory VDL Nedcar from 2023. It had already been decided to end production of the BMW X1. There are now almost 5000 jobs at risk. Minister Wiebes offers a rescue attempt.

BMW wants to transfer production to its own factories outside the Netherlands. According to owner VDL, the Dutch company is still looking for other clients in the car industry in the hope of maintaining as much employment as possible. But the decision simply means that the factory in Born will be out of work from the end of 2023.

The cabinet wants to help VDL Nedcar in finding a new customer, says Minister Eric Wiebes (Economic Affairs). He calls the decision of the German company ‘a hard blow’ to the employees and ‘a setback to the regional economy’.

Now that a new client has become of vital importance to the company, the cabinet offers to deploy investment agency Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), as well as embassies and consulates. It is important “to safeguard employment and activity in Born and the region for the long term.” The House will also be kept informed, the minister promises.


“This door closes, but a window always opens somewhere.” Although results achieved in the past are no guarantee for the future, VDL Nedcar director Paul van Vuuren remains optimistic. “Of course, it is a disappointing report from BMW. But I respect and accept it. We will continue to build the BMW X1 and the Mini’s Countryman and Cabrio for the next three years. During that time we will have to bind new customers to us. And we are already working very hard on that. ”

BMW expressly states that the quality, delivery reliability and competitiveness of VDL Nedcar are not the basis of the decision. The decision was prompted by the current market conditions and the transition (electrification) of that market. Almost all car manufacturers are repositioning themselves in the world and have already had to lay off many employees.


“In order to safeguard employment for years to come, we will intensify the search for filling in the production capacity that will become available,” says VDL CEO Willem van der Leegte. “We have done everything we can to bind BMW to us for more than ten years with a new follow-up order. But because of the spirit of the times, this game was unfortunately not to be won. ”

VDL Nedcar in Born is the only large Dutch car factory. The factory has been around for 50 years and in the past has produced for brands such as Volvo, Mitsubishi and Smart. Since 2014, BMWs and Minis have been built at Nedcar. The plug-in hybrid is also made of the Mini Countryman.

Nedcar is an independent car manufacturer that produces cars on behalf of third parties. The survival of the only major car factory in the Netherlands had been hanging by a thread before, when Mitsubishi no longer saw a future in the production location. The last Mitsubishi Colt rolled off the production line in 2012. In the end, VDL took over the factory. After a thorough renovation, the festive reopening by King Willem-Alexander followed in 2014.

A huge blow to the region

Trade unions are now talking of a dramatic development and a huge blow to the region. Many Nedcar suppliers can also run into problems if car production is discontinued. CNV director Ron Smeets says that this involves thousands more jobs.

In the search for a new customer, according to the trade unionist, the focus should be on looking outside Europe. For example, for large Asian car manufacturers it may be attractive to have a flexible and good production location in Europe, the CNV’er thinks.

“Our first concern now is to maintain calm and tranquility and to urge Nedcar to intensify the search for a new model or client”, says Ron Peters, union manager at FNV. If that does not work, FNV wants a ‘social and solid safety net’ and proper guidance of all employees to find other work.

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