Mitsubishi Motors has been going through a bit of a crisis in 2021. After picking up the pieces of 2020, and the new business strategy for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance put Mitsubishi at the forefront of which automaker to watch for the next big model of the 21st Century. Since then, all eyes have been on the Japanese automaker with all hopes on the next Lancer or sports car to be produced, especially after the release of the original Starion 4WD concept art. Mitsubishi finally dashed all hopes in late May 2021, when the automaker announced it was putting all of its focus on electric vehicle (EV) development. While it does so, the automaker needs models to put on the market. First, Renault was helping out with a rebadged model to regain footing in the European market, but now, Nissan is also joining the pull.
It’s not a fantastic look for Mitsubishi Motors, let’s be honest. Earlier this year, Mitsubishi decided to pull out of the European market, specifically the UK, before losing more money on developing vehicles with the steering wheel on the right-side of the vehicle (European editions). If anything, Mitsubishi Motors will still be making an appearance in Germany, France, Spain, and Italy – but it might not be a Mitsubishi vehicle at all. In spring 2021, Mitsubishi and Renault announced a deal to release a new Renault vehicle into the European market under the guise of the legendary Mitsubishi Dynamic Front Face Shield, and of course, a Mitsubishi badge.
This isn’t anything new for automakers. A good handful of vehicles are just rebadges of other vehicles already established in the market. Heck, even the Dodge Dart was a rebadge of a Mitsubishi Motors vehicle before the automaker really broke out into the North American market. And the Dodge Dart was awesome! It was a sad day to see it go, but now we know the potential Mitsubishi Motors truly has. That’s just one other reason just about everyone on the internet, even the shareholders, were clamoring for the return of a Mitsubishi sports car. In the end, a shareholder meeting announced the focus on EV development and the new flagship for the automaker, the Eclipse Cross PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle).
The Eclipse Cross PHEV is supposed to replace the Outlander PHEV as the main plug-in hybrid SUV of the lineup, which is a bit of a surprise, but contrary to the initial response, the Eclipse Cross was pretty popular for Mitsubishi Motors. It was also the last all in-house model to come from the automaker. Anything new, aside from the Eclipse Cross PHEV, will have parts from Renault or Nissan powering the vehicle, maybe even a whole new EV platform. Now, Mitsubishi is losing more of that “in-house” label. Renault is producing a vehicle for Mitsubishi, but it’s not alone – Nissan is also joining in to keep sales flowing whilst the automaker focuses on EV development.
Some call this a loss of identity. Every automaker in the Alliance is a partner but also a competitor. How can you call it a competition if all of the vehicles are the same, with a few tweaks and a different emblem? It sounds silly, but with Mitsubishi Motors working to reduce its lineup and focus on EV models, the automaker doesn’t have the resources for internal gas combustion engine vehicles, and that means someone else has to pick up the slack.For now, we’re all waiting, but while we play the waiting game, you can find out why the Eclipse Cross is the new PHEV flagship model when you take a test drive of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross at Miami Lakes Automall.
Photo Source/Copyright: The Alliance
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