Earlier this week we reported that an agreed model-sharing plan between Mitsubishi and Renault-Nissan had faltered. Now, thanks to sources on both sides, we’re beginning to find out why.
Over the weekend, Mitsubishi North America executive vice president Don Swearingen told a dealers’ conference that plans to base two future Mitsubishi models on platforms from the Renault–Nissan alliance had stalled, but refused to elaborate on the reasons.
Mitsubishi Motors spokesman Tesuji Inoue has since told the Wall Street Journal, “We were conducting a feasibility study hoping for a win-win situation, but it wasn’t feasible”. The key sticking points, according to Inoue, were costs and currency issues.
The deal between Mitsubishi and Renault-Nissan, which was announced in November 2013, was originally set to yield the three-diamond brand a new D-segment car to replace the retired Galant in North America, as well as a C-segment sedan to slot into the Lancer’s shoes.
It was widely believed that the Galant replacement was going to be built in Korea and be based on the Renault Samsung SM5 (above) — currently a facelifted version of the car we know was the Renault Latitude.
Since November 2013, the Japanese yen has lost almost 17 per cent of its value against the US dollar, while the Korean won has dropped just under two per cent.
Speaking to the Journal, a spokeswoman for Renault-Nissan refused to speculate about future product plans or confirm the deal’s demise. An unnamed source, however, said that the tie up with Mitsubishi was abandoned as Renault believed that forecast sales would have made the venture unviable.
It’s believed that Mitsubishi’s existing deals to jointly engineer kei cars with Nissan, as well as sell various rebadged Nissan products on the Japanese domestic market, remain untouched by recent events.