New Models

Mitsubishi to launch Renault-sourced van mid-2020

The cut-throat van market is about to get a new competitor from within.
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Mitsubishi will rejoin the commercial van market by the middle of next year after a six-year absence with a vehicle based on the Renault Trafic – however the company claims it won’t compete with its French joint venture partner on price.

The opportunity for a van to return to Mitsubishi showrooms came about after the Japanese brand became part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance in 2017.

Due to cost restraints in the highly competitive van market it is believed the Mitsubishi version of the Renault Trafic will have minimal styling changes apart from badging when it goes on sale locally.

Mitsubishi is yet to announce the name for its new commercial vehicle, although it previously sold vans here from 1980 to 2014 under the Express badge.

Mitsubishi says it wants to carve out a slice of the full-size van market which, so far, has remained in line with the rest of the market, posting an 8.0 per cent decline in sales so far this year.

The Toyota HiAce and Hyundai iLoad dominate the segment, with the remaining sales fairly evenly split between European models such as the Ford Transit, Renault Trafic and Volkswagen Transporter.

The Renault Trafic is beginning to show signs of a sales surge following the recent introduction of a base model priced from $29,990 drive-away, making it Australia’s cheapest brand-new full-size van.

However, Mitsubishi says it does not plan to compete with the otherwise identical Renault Trafic on price.

“We want to get our fair share of whatever the (van) market is,” said John Signoriello, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Australia, during a recent media briefing with the chief operating officer of Mitsubishi globally, Ashwani Gupta.

“Without giving away too much, we definitely don’t want to be competing head on with Renault (on price). We just want to try something a little bit different. Let’s wait and see what happens, the market will decide (on price).”

Mr Gupta added: “We do believe because of our strength in the pick-up segment with Triton we can have a great integration of this commercial business.”

It is unclear how many model variants will be available in the Mitsubishi range of Renault Trafic vans but for now the company has ruled out adopting the larger Renault Master, which sells in smaller numbers.