Mitsubishi Motors Waiting on Renault for the European Market
When it comes to Mitsubishi Motors and the new vehicle the automaker is supposed to be releasing, as per the new business strategy for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, everyone is in the dark. Even the shareholders, wanting the automaker to bring back the Lancer Evolution – it’s time – but Mitsubishi Motors is currently focusing on electric vehicles, according to a recent shareholder meeting. Even with the revival of the Ralliart team, responsible for the Lancer Evolution and never-before-seen Starion 4WD, at the moment, Mitsubishi is still focused on going green. Moreover, there seems to be some dissonance from within, pulling out of the European Market, only to return with rebadged models from Renault with the face of a Mitsubishi. In the midst of it all is the Eclipse Cross compact plug-in hybrid SUV.
That’s right – Mitsubishi Motors has more up its sleeve it seems. The Eclipse Cross PHEV can’t be the brand new model we’re waiting on, but the automaker intends to make the plug-in hybrid SUV its new flagship car. When it comes to a flagship car, it’s the vehicle consumers think of when they hear the brand name. Chevrolet has the Corvette; Dodge has the Challenger; and Mitsubishi has the outdated Outlander. It’s true that the Outlander returned with a new generation for the 2022 model year, and consumers have shown great interest, but with the automaker focused on electrification of the lineup, the Outlander will soon be usurped by the Outlander PHEV, and even that has rumors about being replaced.
The Eclipse Cross surprised a lot of consumers, and fans of the sports car, when Mitsubishi revealed the revival was a crossover. Taking a year or two to really get a sense of itself, the Eclipse Cross eventually won people over, selling nearly 20,000 units in 2019. We’re sure the model would’ve had more success if not for the pandemic in 2020. If Mitsubishi Motors intends to release a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) variant of the Eclipse Cross, it might not be such a bad idea as the automaker introduces more electric options to its lineup.
“We will focus our attention on countries where we can concentrate on volume…The Eclipse Cross plug-in hybrid ‘is the core of our brand’ until the Renault models arrive in 2023…It’s our flagship. Plug-in hybrids are growing fast,” – Alex Thomas, director of product marketing and network strategy for Mitsubishi in Europe
When it came to pulling out of the European automotive market in July 2020, Mitsubishi Motors returned after striking an agreement with Renault to build two new “sister” models for Mitsubishi to sell in Europe and regain footing. Officially, Mitsubishi Motors is shutting down operations in the UK and Belgium markets, but will continue to have a presence in Germany, France, Spain, and Italy. The goal is to reverse the losses from 2020, something all automakers felt. The two rebadged Renault models are due to arrive in 2023 and are said to be based off of “best-sellers on the European market which already meet regulatory requirements” from the Renault lineup, or similar to models in the Renault lineup.
That’s a long time to wait. Will we see the new EV from Mitsubishi Motors before then? Find out when you follow us on University Mitsubishi social media.