January 28, 2014
Galant replacement will be provided by Renault Samsung, built in South Korea
Multiple outlets are reporting this morning of a dealer meeting where Mitsubishi executive vice Don Swearingen announced the Diamond Star company and French automaker Renault are still in talks on a Renault-sourced, Mitsubishi-badged D-segment sedan to be sold in the US (and possibly Canada).
However, the real story is in the details released in November. Mitsubishi won’t be sourcing the sedan from Renault’s French operations, but from Renault Samsung, its South Korean subsidiary.
The deal, which we have reported on previously, would give Mitsubishi North America a version of the Renault Samsung SM5, a redesigned Renault Laguna built in South Korea. It was also mentioned a C-segment sedan – likely the Renault Samsung SM3 also sourced from South Korea - could replace the aging Lancer globally.
As part of the same deal, Mitsubishi and Renault-Nissan would share electrification knowledge, possibly killing the slow selling i-MiEV with a Mitsubishi clone of the Nissan LEAF.
Additionally, it’s reported Mitsubishi will see a number of product updates in the near future. From Automotive News:
A small sedan based on the Mirage is also under “strong study” for the U.S. market, Swearingen said. Other product updates include adding a 2.4-liter four cylinder engine to the Outlander Sport to complement the compact crossover’s existing 2.0-liter engine, plus a new continuously variable transmission for the 2015 model year update.
A freshened Outlander also arrives later this year for the 2015 model year.
Mark Stevenson, News Editor: “Mitsubishi in the US and Canada is in dire need of new product. The Mirage (and G4 Sedan) is a laughable attempt to gain half a point of market share. Hopefully, if Mitsubishi can strike a deal quick enough, they can become relevant again and not end up like Suzuki, leaving the North American market all together.”
Jonathan Yarkony, Senior Editor: “Trotting out rebadged Renaults is not going to be the path to revive Mitsu’s fortunes in North America.”