Around the World : The Netherlands

The Netherlands saw CKD production of BMC cars, alongside the usual versions imported from the UK and Belgium…

Roderik Tonen tells the story.

IN 1949 the Dutch Morris importer, J.J. Molenaar, started local assembly the Morris Minor, Morris Isis and Morris Oxford. The operation proved to be something of a success and, by 1959, assembly operations were expanded to include the Austin A40 and the brand new Morris Mini-Minor (known as the Morris 850 in The Netherlands). The cars were produced from Completely Knocked Down Kits (CKD). Not all of these were badged as Morris – some were delivered as Austin Sevens to the Dutch Austin importer, Stokvis.

The situation remained the same in The Netherlands until 1969/1970, following the formation of BLMC in the UK, when it became locally known as British Leyland Nederland (Gouda). The imported cars were split up by in the following way:
J.J. Molenaar: importer of Morris, MG.
Stokvis: importer of Austin, Austin-Healey.
Dirk van der Mark (a Morris dealer): importer of Riley, Wolseley.

In 1973 production of the Innocenti Mini Cooper 1300 started in The Netherlands (these were considered not to be as well built as their Italian counterparts) and this soon ended in 1975. You can recognize these cars because they had a rather strange ‘export’ badge on the front wing.

The same year saw the commencement of Allegro production.

The colours and specification were sometimes different from the cars that were made in Longbridge and Cowley.

A very ‘special’ Mini, made in Belgium and sold in The Netherlands, was the Mini 1100 Special (wooden dash, leather rim three spoke steering wheel, tinted windows, vinyl roof, luxury upholstery, special wheel covers) and, unlike in the UK, this model became the mainstay of the range. Production was of around 73,000 units in total between 1977-1982.

Assembly in The Netherlands (Amersfoort):

1959 30 Minis
1960 472 Minis
1961 520 Minis
1962 836 Minis
1963 861 Minis
1964 1031 Minis
1965 445 Minis
1966 180 Minis (production stopped)

In 1965, assembly (CKD) commenced in Seneffe (Belgium)
In 1966, BMC started British Motor Corporation Belgium S.A (august 6).

Production in Belgium (Seneffe)

1965-1974 (Mini, Austin 1100/1300/GT, Morris 1100/1300/GT, MG 1300) no records/production not known
1975 25,518 Minis
1976 42,959 Minis
1977 53,988 Minis
1978 50,156 Minis
1979 34,523 Minis
1980 27,478 Minis
1981 778 Minis (production stopped)

Article written by Roderik Tonen, photos supplied by Marcel Snijders, originally taken at Amersfoort by Cor Oorthuys

Keith Adams


  1. Fascinating stuff as ever, the lunacy of BMC can be summarised by the fact that up until 1969/70 Morris and Austin cars had separate importers into the Netherlands!

  2. Same for Germany. The Austin importer survived as BL importer, later BL Germany. But the German market was not big enough to consider CKD manufacture compared to BeNeLux.

  3. True, Innocenti was assemblied in Belgium from 1973-1975. Since Molenaar closed in 1966, reason : 19 guilders profit on a Mini. Better than Longbridge in retrospect. From 2014 Mini’s will be made in Born The Netherlands.

  4. Ford had a successful factory in Amsterdam that assembled Cortinas from kits sent over from Dagenham( similar to the set up in Ireland in the seventies). Apparently the Dutch Cortinas were quite well made and popular in the Netherlands, I do recall seeing a 1977 series of Van der Valk driving a Mark 4, which most likely was made in Amsterdam. However, the early eighties recession and rationalisation in Ford saw the factories in Amsterdam and Cork closed down as it was cheaper to import fully built cars from other European factories.
    Interestingly, though, apart from the funny Variomatic Dafs that people remember from the seventies, the Dutch did become a fair sized player, the Daf factory being turned over to producing Mitsubishis and Volvos and exporting cars across Europe.

  5. In the seventies I worked at Ford Amsterdam. As far as I know Mk I and possibly Mk II Cortina’s were build in Amsterdam in de sixties. In the seventies Ford Escort Wagons were build till september 1976, and then replaced by the 1976 Ford Taunus 2-door in base- or L-trim and with 1.3 and 1.6 engines. In september 1978 production of the Taunus was followed by the production of the new Mk II Transit Van SWB. Main product of Ford Amsterdam in the seventies was the H-truck (Transcontinental). As it did not sell in big enough numbers, in 1980 Dearborn decided to close the Amsterdam plant. The last cars were build in 1981/82. As far as I remember, no Cortina’s were build in Amsterdam. Although the 1976 Taunus (LHD) was of course almost identical to the (RHD) Mk IV Cortina 1976.

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