Mitsubishi Motors in the UK has written to all its UK franchised retail partners to tell them that the Japanese car manufacturer is pulling out of the UK and European new car markets.
A statement from the company said: “On Monday July 27 The Colt Car Company learned that Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is freezing the introduction of new vehicles in Europe, including the UK. The current range of Mitsubishi vehicles will remain on sale, however, and our valued customers can be assured that they will continue to receive FULL support in terms of service, repair, warranty, recalls, parts and accessories well into the future.”
“There are currently 247 employees in Cirencester (across The Colt Car Company, Spitalgate Dealer Services Limited and Shogun Retail Limited)
“Although Mitsubishi Motors Corporation will not be bringing in any new cars to the European market, including the UK, the Colt Car Company will continue to sell the current Mitsubishi Motors range to our UK Dealer network from our base here in Cirencester.
“The Colt Car Company has been looking for additional complimentary brands to bring to the UK market and has commenced some very preliminary discussions in this respect and with the announcement from Mitsubishi Motors will be looking now to accelerate this effort.”
Mitsubishi cars have been imported into the UK by the Cirencester-based Colt Car Company since 1974. The company, which seems to have had no prior inkling of the announcement, said that it would attempt to accelerate its plan to bring other emerging brands into the UK to replace the space left vacant by Mitsubishi. The company turns over more than £500 million annually and employs around 350 people.
Colt has written to its network to say that it had not foreseen the news and that as many retailers as possible would be retained as part of a parts and aftersales network.
Mitsubishi Motors, a junior member of the auto alliance of Nissan Motor and Renault SA, said that it had no choice but to reduce its fixed costs by 20 per cent and focus on investment in core markets where it sees potential.
Globally the company sold just 139,000 vehicles in the April-June quarter, down more than 50 per cent from last year.
The global pandemic has accelerated the adoption of electric, hybrid and plug-in cars in Europe, with diesel and petrol vehicles losing traction as a result. June was no exception to this trend. While petrol and diesel registrations fell by 32 per cent and 31 per cent respectively, compared to June 2019, the volume of new EVs registered rose from 111,300 units in June 2019 to 183,300 units last month, up by 65 per cent. In other words, the market share of EVs was 16.2 per cent, which closes the gap to less than eight percentage points compared to the market share for diesel cars. For every EV registered, in June 2019, there were 1.7 diesel cars registered – a ratio of 4.1 to 1, according to JATO Dynamics which provides timely, accurate and up-to-date automotive information on vehicle specifications across the world, pricing, sales and registrations.