Mitsubishi will only consider re-entering the UK market when it has “more than one” electric car to offer, the brand’s head of Europe said.
The Japanese car maker today unveiled the first of two cars based on models from Alliance partner Renault that it will sell in its remaining mainland European markets.
The second-generation Mitsubishi ASX is a rebadged version of the Renault Captur that will launch from March next year, while the company will also sell the Renault Clio-based Colt, starting in autumn.
The ASX will be sold with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain to sit below the current Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV, but no electric car has been announced.
Mitsubishi left the UK in 2020 as part of a cost-saving strategy that initially involved leaving all of Europe. It reversed that decision and has streamlined its European presence to 17 markets, down from 32 in 2019. However, such has been the shift to EVs in the UK in the meantime that Mitsubishi doesn’t feel confident to re-enter with its planned line-up.
“The market has changed quite rapidly in the past two years, so we would have to find a good product strategy to re-enter,” said Frank Krol, Mitsubishi's Europe boss. “We’d need more than one electric car.”
Mitsubishi aims to grow its European sales back to near where it was in 2019, when it sold almost 150,000 cars in the region, Krol said.
The ASX will be built by Renault in its Spain factory and be offered with the full Renault Captur engine line-up, including the plug-in hybrid, hybrid, 1.3-litre mild hybrid and entry-level 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine. The design is very close to the Captur's, but with Mitsubishi’s ‘Dynamic Shield’ grafted onto the grille. The new Colt, based on the Clio, will be built in Renault’s factory in Turkey.
Mitsubishi will continue to offer the Mirage budget hatchback below the Colt.