Mitsubishi is launching a small SUV that is none other than a Renault Captur

Mitsubishi is launching a small SUV that is none other than a Renault Captur

Mitsubishi presents its new small SUV ASX this Tuesday evening. A Japanese novelty? No, because we recognize it perfectly. It is indeed the…Renault Captur, only with a redesigned grille. A real dexterity despite the dithyrambic expressions of those responsible at Mitsubishi Europe (MMC), who, according to CEO Frank Krol, praise the “beautiful innovations” for “high requirements”. “It’s the beginning of a new era,” even emphasizes the Japanese brand. Launched in early 2023, this car will be manufactured alongside the Captur with Renault engines in Valladolid (Spain). In addition to the small 1.0 three-cylinder and 1.3 four-cylinder petrol engines, this ASX adopts the well-known E-Tech hybrids.

With 145 horsepower, the hybrid will borrow a 1.6 petrol engine from Nissan. The main electric motor also comes from the Japanese partner, even if it is assembled in Cléon. The second will be bought by Japanese equipment Denso. The 1.2 kWh lithium-ion battery, which weighs around forty kilos, comes from the Japanese company Hitachi. The constant-mesh gearbox (four gears plus two electric), with no clutch or synchro, on the other hand, is a Renault product made in northern France. This hybridization, which owes much to the Japanese, was developed entirely by French engineers. The battery version is said to achieve 160 hp.

After the ASX, Mitsubishi will launch a second model. The Japanese city car Mitsubishi Colt this time will be nothing more than a Renault Clio V, redesigned at the front and produced at the diamond company’s Turkish site in Bursa. In production from summer 2023, the Colt will arrive in fall 2023. While the three-diamond brand should withdraw from Europe, it is making a strategic U-turn here with the help of Renault! Since autumn 2016, MMC has been controlled by Nissan, which holds 34% of its capital. For its part, Renault owns 43.4% of Nissan, which it acquired in March 1999.

Poorly Selling Cloned Utilities

As a traditional specialist in 4x4s and pickups, MMC badly needed models at lower cost if it wanted to stay in Europe. Its sharply declining registrations barely surpassed 73,000 in Europe last year: three and a half times less than Nissan, but in bad shape! However, one may ask, what good are Renault clones? Why would a European look to a Japanese brand with a weak sales and after-sales service network for exact copies of the Captur and Clio? MMC has already started selling clones of utility Renaults… With ridiculous results. So markets the Japanese Express Vans, derived from the Renault Trafic, produced in Sandouville (Seine-Maritime). But last year 1,343 vehicles were made, compared to 82,900 for the original Renault version.

The Frenchman also finds an equally mixed interest in it. Sure, it can increase its volumes and achieve better economies of scale, but only to a small extent. Renault made 205,700 Clio Vs in Bursa last year, along with another 32,130 at Novo Mesto in Slovenia. The diamond company also made 150,000 Captur across the Pyrenees in 2021. One thing is for sure, the new ASX symbolizes the decay of MMC: my first model, so called and launched in 2010, would not have been sold to PSA, who had marketed it under the names of Peugeot 4008 and Citroën C4 Aircross? Today at Renault it’s the other way around.

Reference: www.challenges.fr

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