Carmaker Mitsubishi is to exit the UK and European car market, with Mitsubishi Motors Corporation announcing that it will freeze the introduction of new models to the region.
The brand’s current line-up consists of the Mirage city car, ASX, Eclipse Cross and Outlander SUVs, including the successful Outlander PHEV, and the Shogun Sport off-roader, as well as the L200 pick-up. Sales of all existing models will continue until early 2021, when the Outlander and Eclipse Cross will end, with the last new cars expected to go off sale by the end of 2021. The company has though pledged aftersales and service care, with the manufacturer obliged to provide a decade of support for new models sold in Europe and a company spokesman said the brand would be looking to maintain as many of its retailers as possible to provide servicing and after sales support.
The Colt Car Company has been the official UK importer of Mitsubishi models since 1974, and around 350,000 Mitsubishis are currently on UK roads. Though Mitsubishi Motors owns a stake in CCC, the latter is a separate company that is likely to operate the aftersales support for current owners. It is also rumoured to be exploring the option of acting as importer for a new brand to the UK, potentially around electric vehicles.
An official statement from the UK importer said: “The Colt Car Company has just learned that Mitsubishi Motors Corporation have frozen the development and introduction of new models for Europe, including the UK. We will continue to sell the existing range of Mitsubishi vehicles and to provide full customer support in terms of service, repair, warranty, recalls, parts and accessories. We will provide updates when we know more.” Although the statement didn’t specify the reasons for the withdrawal, the increasing cost of homologating new models for the European market will have played a major role.
Mitsubishi sold just 771 cars in the pandemic-disrupted first half of 2020, dropping its market share to 0.53% compared with 0.66% in the first half of 2019. It also sold 359 light commercial vehicles across the L200 and LCV versions of the Outlander and Shogun Sport, with a market share dropping from 2.59% to 1.20%.
The Outlander was the first big-selling plug-in hybrid model to find success in the UK, but the brand, which is part of an alliance with Renault and Nissan, with the latter owning a controlling stake.
The company announced a three-year mid-term business plan entitled Small but Beautiful to “concentrate its management resources on its core regions and technologies”. That includes focussing on the ASEAN region, where it aims to increase market share to above 11%, developing business in Africa, Oceania and South America and launching new electric and plug-in hybrid models.
The brand last week announced a new fleet deal, with the first 10 of 72 Outlander Commercial models being delivered to high-speed and commuter rolling stock supplier Alstom Transport UK.
models being delivered to high-speed and commuter rolling stock supplier Alstom Transport UK.