Mitsubishi Motors will stop new-car sales in Europe when its current products come to the end of their life cycles. The Japanese company will focus instead on profitable sales in Southeast Asia as part of its newly announced three-year midterm business plan aimed at cutting losses.
Mitsubishi announced it would be “freezing the introduction of new products” in Europe during a presentation Monday.
The strategy takes effect immediately, which means Mitsubishi will halt plans to replace the Outlander midsize SUV in Europe, a company spokesman for the region told Automotive News Europe.
Last December Mitsubishi told ANE that the Outlander, Mitsubishi’s flagship model in the region, would be replaced in the second half of this year.
Mitsubishi said in the presentation that a new Outlander would arrive in other global markets in the 2021 financial year, which starts in April 2021, with the plug-in hybrid version appearing in the automaker's 2022 fiscal year. That suggests the replacement has been delayed, meaning the current model could continue for another year.
Mitsubishi’s newest model in Europe is the Eclipse Cross compact SUV, which went on sale in 2017.
Mitsubishi does plan to retain an aftersales presence in Europe. “Aftersales is an essential business and that will continue,” the spokesman said.
Mitsubishi has sold cars in Europe since 1975 and also built cars at the Nedcar facility in Born, Netherlands, from 1995 until 2012. Mitsubishi sold Nedcar to the VDL Group, a Dutch industrial company, in December 2012. The factory now makes the BMW X1, the Mini hatchback and Mini Countryman.
In 2019, Mitsubishi indicated it wanted to strengthen its European operations when it set up a new company to oversee regional sales after years of relying on local importers.
Mitsubishi gained leadership in Europe’s fledgling plug-in hybrid sector soon after launching the Outlander PHEV in 2014. The Outlander continued to lead the sector through April despite the arrival of more plug-in hybrids for European rivals.
Mitsubishi on Monday forecast its second straight year of global financial losses hurt by a plunge in sales due in part to the coronavirus pandemic.
Japan's No. 6 automaker anticipates an operating loss of 140 billion yen ($1.33 billion) for the year ending March 2021 just as it embarks on a plan to shrink its workforce and production, and close unprofitable dealerships to cut 20 percent of fixed costs in two years.
This would be Mitsubishi's biggest loss in at least 18 years according to company financial records dating back to 2002.
The company’s reorganization is part of a wider rethink of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance aimed at cutting costs.