Sydney move a chance
Mitsubishi may swap Adelaide for Sydney, writes PAUL GOVER
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.’’
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