The news Mitsubishi was ceasing production of cars for the European market – effectively sounding the death knell for the brand – came as a surprise even to the brand’s UK managing director.
Speaking to Car Dealer this morning, boss Rob Lindley said he heard the news on a conference call with bosses in Japan last Wednesday.
He said he and his team were ‘shocked and saddened’ to hear the news no new cars would be developed for Europe, but that he would ‘work a way through it’ with his dealer partners.
Lindley said the Colt Car Company, the company that imports Mitsubishis to the UK, was already talking to other brands and that these talks will now be ‘accelerated’.
He said: ‘We were already talking to other brands as we had seen the losses that Mitsubishi had been making and expected a slow down in the models it would develop for the UK.
‘We did not expect it to cease development of models for Europe completely and that was a shock, but we were talking to other brands that are not yet represented here in the UK yet.’
Brands like Haval, owned by Chinese firm Great Wall has recently been introduced in Australia – a right hand drive market with similar crash test regulations. A brand like that could make a tempting proposition for the Mitsubishi importer.
Lindley would not be drawn on which brands he was talking to, but added: ‘Generally speaking if a brand is importing cars to Australia then they are a good fit for the UK as they are right hand drive and crash tested to similar standards.’
Euro 7 emissions and the CAFE regulations that will see manufacturers fined huge sums for not meeting stringent and tough-to-meet fleet emissions targets is said to be the final nail in the coffin for Mitsubishi.
Lindley said: ‘I have spoken to half a dozen dealers this morning and we have made official communications to the dealer network. We are disappointed at the news and were just as surprised as everyone else.
‘We will work with dealers on the product that we can continue to sell in the UK and then some way down the line the Colt Car Company will deal with what is next.
‘We knew Covid had caused issues for the brand and we had noted the losses Mitsubishi had made, but the tougher emissions regulations were hard to meet.’
Mitsubishi has 114 sales and service centres in the UK and dealers have been left reeling from the news that the brand will cease the development of new cars for Europe. Although none would go on the record, two dealer group bosses told Car Dealer this morning that they feared Mitsubishi won’t be the last to go.
‘Other brands are in similar positions – just look at the other brands from the Far East that sell little to no cars here and don’t have the money to develop the technology needed to meet the emissions targets,’ said one boss.
‘Mitsubishi may be the first to announce the effective withdrawal but it definitely won’t be the last.’
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