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Following Mitsubishi Motors’ announcement of plans to invest up to EUR200m (US$212m) in Renault’s new battery electric vehicle (BEV) venture Ampere, the automaker has now confirmed last month’s media reports it planned to withdraw entirely from China by the end of the year, as sales continued to plunge amid rising competition from local automakers.

Mitsubishi ended production at its joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group in Hunan province last March and would cease sales activities as soon as its existing vehicle inventory runs out.

In the first eight months of 2023, its sales in the world’s largest vehicle market fell 48% year on year to 12,500 internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles as overall demand continued to shift towards battery and hybrid vehicles.

Japanese automakers were struggling to keep up with Chinese automakers in the BEV segment with rivals such as BYD, Geely and also Tesla continuing to report strong gains.

Honda China sales also fell sharply year to date (YTD), by 24%, while Nissan volume was down 26%.

Mitsubishi’s decision to invest in Ampere followed Nissan’s July announcement of an EUR600m investment in the new Renault BEV and software company, strengthening the Alliance JV between the three companies.

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By GlobalData

Mitsubishi’s participation in Ampere would help it to strengthen its global BEV product line. It plans to source BEVs from the joint venture and sell them under its own brand in Europe.