Mitsubishi is making big strategic changes in how they make cars, and one of those changes is a brand-new direction for their next sedan. With the Mitsubishi Lancer on its way out the door, the small Japanese automaker is looking to partner with the Renault-Nissan for a new non-SUV model or two.
To be clear, Nissan and Mitsubishi already had a pre-existing partnership, but this will be the first time that the whole Renault-Nissan Alliance will be involved in the venture. The official partnership was quietly announced over a year ago, along with news of two new offerings the automotive firms will work together to produce. The first will be a midsize D-segment sedan for US and Canadian markets only. The second will be a globally available compact sedan.
In addition to the new global compact sedan, Mitsubishi and Renault-Nissan will collaborate on an NA-only midsize model. However, further details of what exactly these two cars would be based on were left totally up in the air… Until now.
In a recent report from Automotive News, Mitubishi CEO Osamu Masuko told AN that the US/Canada midsize sedan will be the first project to come to fruition. The new sedan will be manufactured at the Renault-Samsung factory in South Korea, and will likely be based on the Renault Latitude sedan (pictured above). Masuko expects this model to go on sale sometime around 2017.
As for the global compact sedan, plans are still up in the air. In his correspondence with AN, Masuko made it seem like they hadn’t even decided whether they want to re-badge a Nissan or a Renault model, although other sources hint that the compact sedan will be built on Renault’s new CMF architecture, which you can find underpinning the Nissan Qashqai. Either way, manufacturing and actually getting the car into showroom floors is still a ways off.
Strategically, this expanded Renault-Nissan partnership will allow Mitsubishi to put all of their internal R&D into the explosive SUV crossover market segment. A replacement for the European ASX compact SUV is planned for 2016, and the Shogun SUV will get a new model in 2018. It sounds like a long time to wait for being their “top priority”, but Mitsubishi plans to offer a plug-in hybrid version of each new SUV when they finally hit the market in the next few years. Either way, we’ll keep you updated here at Integrity Exports.