Goodbye to Italy. Faced with a deep crisis (which the Covid-19 months worsened), Mitsubishi Motors expects an operating loss of 140 billion yen (1.13 billion euros) for this fiscal year – which will end in March 2021. It is the second fiscal year in red. And since the cut of jobs and that of production are not enough, the choice of the sensational Japanese manufacturer: to reduce its presence in North America and Europe to concentrate on the Asian markets, in particular the Chinese one. A retreat. Which entails the departure of one of the manufacturer’s most glorious pieces, the Pajero, and the closure of the Japanese factory where the off-road vehicle was produced.
But the farewell will not be the disappearance of the brand. About this Mitsubishi Motors Italia wants (and must) be clear. So Luca Ronconi, managing director of the Koelliker group, which distributes the cars of the Japanese brand in Italy, calls the reporters and explains: Immediately nothing changes, given that the house does not have an Italian branch, but a distributor, we in fact. So our network – with 112 stores and dealers – will remain available to customers both for the purchase of new models and for assistance.
The fallback strategy on the home market is going to take other sensational steps in Europe. The fate of the European branch in Amsterdam, which opened just a couple of years ago, is sealed. And there are all the knots to be solved within the Renault-Nissan Alliance (which have their respective problems), in which the Japanese brand entered in 2016. But the production does not stop. The restyling of the Space Star will arrive in September, with the same 1.0 and 1.2-liter engines, also bi-fuel, but an aesthetic that is announced more pleasant, a robust injection of technology and a price list that should start at 12 thousand euros. But it is not yet known whether the two new models already approved for Europe, the Outlander and the Eclipse Cross (sales were scheduled for spring 2021), at this point they will be imported.
Faced with the turning of the Japanese house, the Koelliker Group, historical name of the Italian automotive (also distributes Ssangyong), is not looking. A year ago we inaugurated a new cycle and renewed the company from a financial and operational point of view – continues Ronconi -, our strategy aimed at launching new emerging brands in Italy, in the scenario of sustainable and electric mobility. We think of a range capable of satisfying many needs: from premium high-performance SUVs to the most popular crossovers, up to commercial vehicles for cities. The stop imposed by the pandemic and the turnaround of the parent company accelerated a process that had already begun. The brands arriving in the Koelliker portfolio? At the moment nothing to say. But unofficially, there are two brands arriving between 2021 and 2022.
August 3, 2020 (change August 3, 2020 | 1:12 pm)
© RESERVED REPRODUCTION