Report: Mitsubishi Motors to exit Chinese market
According to the Japanese news outlet Nikkei Asia, Mitsubishi Motors has decided to withdraw from automobile production in China. The company has started final withdrawal talks with China’s Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC), a major automaker with which Mitsubishi has a joint venture.
“Mitsubishi’s sales in China have been sluggish due to the popularity of electric vehicles and the rise of local brands. Other Japanese automakers are also struggling and might review their strategies in the country,” Nikkei said.
GAC Mitsubishi Motors has a factory in Hunan province. The company halted production in March; it will not resume operations. The Hunan plant is Mitsubishi’s only factory in China. GAC is expected to use the Hunan plant for EV production.
“Mitsubishi in 2022 sold 38,550 cars in China, down about 60 percent from the previous year. To reverse the trend, it launched a hybrid, the Outlander SUV, for the China market last fall, though sales came in below projections,” Nikkei says.
As it withdraws from China, “Mitsubishi will devote resources to Southeast Asia and Oceania, regions that account for about a third of Mitsubishi’s consolidated sales.”
According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, EV sales in 2022 increased by 80 percent to 5.36 million cars, accounting for around 20 percent of all new car sales in the country. Mitsubishi has no proprietarily developed EVs in China as GAC has supplied these vehicles, Nikkei says.
Mitsubishi began exporting commercial vehicles to China in the 1970s and was involved in a joint venture with Soueast Motor from 2006 to 2021. GAC Mitsubishi Motors was established in 2012 and sold 140,000 vehicles in 2018, its peak year.
This comment to Hagerty from Mitsubishi in Tokyo: “Nikkei, a Japanese newspaper, reported today that Mitsubishi Motors Corporation will withdraw production in China, however, this is not based on our company’s announcement. We are continuing to discuss the future business among the shareholders, and nothing has been decided.”