Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) on Wednesday said it would withdraw from cross country rallying, starting with the Dakar Rally.

“The sudden deterioration of the global economy made it necessary for the company to focus its resources more tightly,” MMC said in a statement.

Mitsubishi won 12 of 26 Dakar Rally forays, including seven consecutive victories.

MMC took part in this year’s Dakar event, switched to Argentina and Chile because of security fears in Mauritania that forced the cancellation of last year’s event, Reuters noted.

“Discussions (about their future involvement) were going on before and continuing during the race,” Mitsubishi’s Adam Sorkin told the news agency.

“The decision was finalised today. It’s basically anything that requires a works or manufacturer-backed team, we’re pretty much done. It’s going on from 2010. There’s no end date in sight.”

Mitsubishi’s involvement in the Spanish Baja and Baja Portugal rallies will also be terminated, the report added.

Honda, which has forecast a JPY190bn operating loss for the fiscal second half ending in March, recently withdrew from Formula One racing to reduce costs as its global car sales slumped.

Subaru and Suzuki have also quit the world rally championship (WRC) which Mitsubishi left back in 2005.