Recent work on nonmetropolitan industrialisation has tended to stress environmental attractiveness and the shortage of space for in situ expansion as the factors largely responsible for the process. The argument presented in this paper is that the process cannot adequately be understood in such terms. Some recipient locations are not especially environmentally attractive, and in other cases decentralisation has been to sizeable urban as well as rural locations. Three European regions, South Wales (United Kingdom), Emilia-Romagna (Italy), and Aveiro (Portugal) are chosen as representative of the different kinds of area to which industry has been decentralising. In each case, metals-based (often engineering) industry has been a prime decentraliser. The reasons for this include technical change enabling economies of scale to be achieved in small productive units, the search for lower production costs, social characteristics of the work force, and product-market factors.