Mitsubishi has sent shockwaves through the automotive industry with the announcement that it is to leave the European market.
The Japanese company plans to cancel all scheduled vehicle launches, including that of the next generation L200 pickup. Existing models will remain on sale until they fail to comply with updated emissions regulations or residual stock runs dry.
Colt Car Company, the sole UK Mitsubishi importer, says that orders and deliveries will continue unaffected in the near-term, with a steady supply of vehicles expected until 2021. Similarly, the firm’s shell-shocked dealers will offer customer support for servicing, repairs, warranty claims and parts – something that manufacturers are duty-bound to provide for a minimum of 10 years after a model goes out of production.
On the plus side, the L200 is likely to remain on sale well into 2022 as its most recent update occurred just last year.
The Cirencester-based outfit says it is actively looking for alternative import options. One name mooted is Chinese maker Haval, which sells cars and trucks under the Great Wall brand and had a brief dalliance with the British market a few years ago.
It will have big boots to fill, with the L200 enjoying an almost permanent residency in the pickup sales chart top three for two decades.
Meanwhile, Mitsubishi is focusing on shoring up its finances as it prepares for a second consecutive year of heavy losses, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Europe has been particularly unprofitable, due in part to the financial burden of meeting tough Euro 7 emissions rules, so it intends to concentrate almost exclusively on the South-East Asia market.