Mitsubishi's UK operations will not be saved despite a plan to sell Renault-developed vehicles in selected European markets. The company had announced it would withdraw from Europe, but the Japanese firm then said it would “procure new vehicles” from Renault, provoking speculation the brand would continue in the UK.
Last year, Mitsubishi issued a statement claiming it would pull out of the European arena, stopping development of new models for the UK market. The plan was to continue selling existing models, but not to replace them with new-generation cars that would become available over the coming years.
But Mitsubishi this week confirmed it would continue selling some vehicles in Europe, using Renault-developed models procured as part of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. Some – perhaps more out of hope than expectation – speculated the move could create a future for the brand on British shores.
However, Mitsubishi Motors in the UK has clarified its position, saying the repurposed Renault vehicles would only be available in certain European markets. The new models, the company said, would not be available in right-hand-drive guises, and would not be sold in the UK.
Instead, the company will continue selling cars from its current model range until the autumn, before turning the business over to aftersales. This means drivers who own Mitsubishi models will still be able to get their vehicles serviced and maintained by approved Mitsubishi repairers, just as they can under the current situation.
That said, Auto Express said the brand’s dealer network had shrunk since the withdrawal announcement last year, with “fearing supply shortages and the lack of future models”. Nevertheless, the magazine said Mitsubishi still has around 100 UK dealers at which customers can get their cars serviced.
“Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has today announced that it plans to procure new vehicles from Alliance partner Renault,” read a statement from Mitsubishi Motors in the UK. “These will be available in selected left-hand drive European markets only. They will not be offered for sale in the UK and will not be produced in right-hand drive.
“Mitsubishi Motors in the UK is progressing with its plans to sell the existing range of vehicles until the autumn at which point it will transition into an aftersales-only business to ensure the 400,000 Mitsubishi vehicles on UK roads continue to receive full support in terms of maintenance, spare parts, accessories, warranty and technical support well into the future. Full details of Mitsubishi Motors in the UK’s next steps will be announced in due course.”