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July 27, 2020

Could Mitsubishi UK/Europe withdrawal open door to Chinese EV brands?

Could Mitsubishi's withdrawal from the UK and Europe open the door to new entries from Chinese EV makers?

By Olly Wehring

Could Mitsubishi ‘s withdrawal from the UK and Europe open the door to new entries from Chinese EV makers?

That is one possible outcome of MMC ‘s shock announcement today contained in a new, three year, mid term business plan (from fiscal 2020 to 2022) dubbed ‘Small but Beautiful’ which said it would “concentrate its management resources on its core regions and technologies”.

The plan includes “focusing management resources on Asean and increasing the market share there to more than 11%” and “developing businesses in Africa, Oceania and South America as the second pillar following Asean “.

Long-time, independent UK importer, the Cirencester-based Colt Car Company (CCC ), appears to have been caught on the hop by the announcement in Japan which coincided with MMC’s latest dire financial results and gloomy outlook.

The UK’s AM Online reported CCC said in a letter to dealers it “did not, at any point, anticipate receiving this news”.

It said it would attempt to “accelerate its plan to bring other emerging brands into the UK”.

A CCC spokesman told AM Online the dealer network would continue to sell the cars currently offered until such a time that they no longer comply with European regulations and as many retailers as possible would aim to be retained as part of a parts and aftersales network.

The planned introduction of the new Eclipse Cross plug in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and the next generation Outlander PHEV would not happen.

AM Online said it understood the franchised retail network currently has 103 dealer operators many of whom were preparing to invest in an updated corporate identity (CI) which was showcased by the brand in 2018.

An AM Online dealer source said: “The real issue is for those smaller dealers who only trade in Mitsubishi . Today’s news is going to be a massive blow for them and effectively ends their franchised business.”

CCC reportedly said in its letter to retailers: “In terms of the future for The Colt Car Group of Companies, we have already been looking at opportunities to bring additional new vehicle brands into the UK as a distributor and have already been in early dialogue with some alternative emerging market brands with an EV product strategy.

“Whilst the discussions are at an early stage, in light of today’s announcement we are focused on accelerating these opportunities with the goal of introducing additional brands to our business as quickly as possible.

“Clearly, if we are able to progress some of these initial contacts into a viable business proposition it will represent future options and opportunities for us all.”

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