Mitsubishi Remains As Odd As Ever

Mitsubishi Remains As Odd As Ever

We all presumed that Mitsubishi was getting out of Europe last July, as part of its slow, sad wind down into automaker nothing. Except now Mitsubishi says that isn’t the case, and in fact Mitsubishi will live on longer but, somewhat oddly, produced by Renault.

One of those cars sold there will be the Eclipse Cross PHEV, the others are “…Renault-developed sister models [that] will enable Mitsubishi Motors to be more competitive in the market,” according to Renault’s press release.

Mitsubishi Motors has decided to procure OEM-model vehicles from Renault, best-sellers on the European market which already meet regulatory requirements, for selected major markets in Europe.

Starting 2023, Mitsubishi Motors will thus sell two “sister models” produced in Groupe Renault plants, which are based on the same platforms but with differentiations, reflecting the Mitsubishi brand’s DNA.

And though Renault and Mitsubishi don’t say it, the other cars will probably be small cars, as the current best-selling Mitsu in Europe is the … wait for it … Mirage. This seems like it’ll mostly be an exercise in re-badging.

From Automotive News:

Renault’s top two best-selling models in Europe are the Clio small hatchback and Captur small crossover, both of which were revamped on new platforms in the past 18 months.

Mitsubishi Motors CEO Takao Kato said the decision to source Renault-based models was an opportunity to win new buyers for the brand, but that it would not develop new models from scratch for Europe.

Mitsubishi has been implementing structural reforms in Europe and our decision remains “to freeze new car development for the European market, announced in July 2020 in our mid-term business plans,” Kato said in a statement.

Mitsubishi’s CEO saying that this will be an “opportunity to win new buyers” is an incredible bit of fantasy, but I wish we all had the gift of such optimism. Someday I will sit down with someone from Mitsubishi and have them explain its business strategy in the U.S. and Europe, and try to make sense of it, but today will not be that day.

I emailed Mitsu to see if anyone was free, instead a spokesman referred to me to Mitsubishi’s press release about Europe. As for the U.S., the spokesman said:

For the US, we’ve no plans to change our already-announced course. By the end of next month, we will have launched a redesigned Mirage and Mirage G4, a new powertrain in the Outlander PHEV, additional safety equipment as standard in the Outlander Sport, a reimagined Eclipse Cross with updated styling, and the all-new 2022 Outlander.

Some days I think that Mitsubishi will be the only car company that survives.