Mitsubishi back in Europe with new Renault deal

From 2023, Mitsubishi will launch two new models for Europe, based on existing Renault vehicles

Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi has confirmed that it will return to the European market in 2023 following extensive internal discussions within the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

A new arrangement has been agreed that will see Renault produce two “sister vehicles” for Mitsubishi at its French production facilities, specifically for sale in Europe. However, the Japanese brand remains firm on its decision to leave the UK.

The French government owns a 15 per cent stake in Renault and, as Mitsubishi is partially owned by the French brand, it could soon face accusations of assisting a Renault drive to protect French jobs.

Executives from both Mitsubishi and Nissan have previously expressed concern that the deal was designed as a political bargaining chip to increase the workload in struggling French factories and win union support. A similar move occured back in 2001, when Renault moved production of the Nissan Micra from Sunderland to its Flins factory outside Paris.

Mitsubishi says its plans for the UK market have not changed. The company is still moving steadily towards becoming an after-sales service by the end of the year and there are no official plans to bring Mitsubishi’s newly agreed Renault-based models to Britain.

Takao Kato, CEO of Mitsubishi Motors, said: “Mitsubishi Motors welcomes Renault's OEM models for the European market, and ultimately new customers. Mitsubishi Motors has been implementing structural reforms in Europe and our decision to freeze new car development for the European Market, announced in July 2020 in our mid-term business plans, remains. 

“However, the OEM supply agreement will provide us with a solution to offer new products developed and manufactured in Europe – alongside our ongoing after sales business.”

Should this change, though, Mitsubishi’s UK importer would be met with a problem when it comes to the dealer network. Although the brand still has around 100 dealerships in the UK, a number of outlets have already closed following Mitsubishi’s original exit announcement in July, with dealers fearing supply shortages and the lack of future models.

Financial difficulties brought on by the coronavirus pandemic was another key factor. However, to return Mitsubishi's dealer network in the UK to its pre-2020 announcement position would require heavy investment and the promise of a steady stream of fresh models.

Now read all the latest news on the new Mitsubishi Outlander. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…

Most Popular

Government in major U-turn on pick-up truck tax changes
Ford Ranger - side
News

Government in major U-turn on pick-up truck tax changes

HMRC scraps its plan to axe the benefit-in-kind ‘loophole’ for pick-ups, a week after announcing it
19 Feb 2024
Car Deal of the Day: Land Rover Defender looks the business at £324 per month
Defender Hard Top - downhill off road
News

Car Deal of the Day: Land Rover Defender looks the business at £324 per month

The current Defender is a fantastic SUV van for businesses and is our Car Deal of the Day for 20 February
20 Feb 2024
“The £16k Dacia Spring is an electric car game-changer”
Opinion - Dacia Spring
Opinion

“The £16k Dacia Spring is an electric car game-changer”

With many people claiming electric cars are just too expensive, editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks the Dacia Spring’s arrival in the UK is exactly wh…
21 Feb 2024