Syd­ney move a chance

Mit­subishi may swap Ade­laide for Syd­ney, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

SYD­NEY could be­come the new home for Mit­subishi Mo­tors af­ter the end of its car­mak­ing op­er­a­tion in Ade­laide. The com­pany is con­sid­er­ing its op­tions as it pre­pares to switch from be­ing a ful­lline man­u­fac­turer to a straight-out im­porter with­out the need for a large work­force or in­dus­trial base.

It could move to a rel­a­tively small of­fice, as Nis­san did af­ter clos­ing its huge car­mak­ing plant in Clay­ton, and Syd­ney tops the list.

No one at Mit­subishi Mo­tors will talk openly about the pos­si­bil­ity of a move out of Ade­laide, though man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Rob McEniry sug­gested more than two years ago the com­pany needed some form of sales and mar­ket­ing op­er­a­tion in Syd­ney.

‘‘It’s not on the draw­ing-boards at the mo­ment. We tossed it around for a while, but the need to get sta­bil­ity back in the or­gan­i­sa­tion takes prece­dence over any con­tem­pla­tion of mov­ing,’’ McEniry now says. ‘‘I don’t an­tic­i­pate mov­ing in the short term.’’

Mit­subishi is now do­ing ev­ery­thing it can to sell its man­u­fac­tur­ing as­sets in Ade­laide. Ev­ery­thing, from its near-new stamp­ing press to the fac­tory’s land, is go­ing on the block.

It is also work­ing through a re­dun­dancy pro­gram to cut num­bers from 1100 to 300.

‘‘Our pref­er­ence is to sell it as one lot. We ini­tially wanted to sell it as a go­ing con­cern to an­other au­to­mo­tive man­u­fac­turer, but we’ve had no in­ter­est for that,’’ McEniry says.

‘‘We’ll now go through the ex­er­cise of sell­ing the plant and equip­ment, then the land. There are 10 or 11 se­ri­ous con­tenders for the land and build­ings and dur­ing the next few months we’ll sift through those.’’

The fac­tory is still run­ning at a low level, mak­ing spare parts for the 380, but will close by Novem­ber.

McEniry is sad to close man­u­fac­tur­ing but is pleased by the po­ten­tial as an im­porter.

‘‘I’m a car nut. I like de­sign and build­ing and test­ing and en­gi­neer­ing,’’ he says.

‘‘Pure im­port­ing is a dif­fer­ent op­er­a­tion but there are dis­tinct op­por­tu­ni­ties to turn the or­gan­i­sa­tion into some­thing spe­cial.

‘‘And we’ll keep some en­gi­neer­ing ac­tiv­i­ties here.

‘‘This month, the first of our new fi­nan­cial year, we’ll be pretty close to profit, cer­tainly at the op­er­at­ing level. We have mi­nor re­struc­tur­ing costs this year as peo­ple move out, but the bal­ance sheet is very strong now.’’

Pop­u­lar: de­mand is so strong for the Lancer Evo X the fac­tory is hav­ing trou­ble keep­ing up.

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