Renault could build cars for Mitsubishi in France as part of a plan that would see the Japanese automaker reverse its decision to stop selling its vehicles in Europe, the Financial Times reported.
Mitsubishi will review the plan at a board meeting on Thursday, the newspaper said, citing sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
Mitsubishi said last year it would cease operations in Europe after failing to reverse losses in the region.
The withdrawal of Mitsubishi from Europe was part of the revised overall strategy of the three alliance partners who called on Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi to focus on their profitable markets and to abandon or reduce their activities in markets where they needed to. hard to earn money. Mitsubishi has said it will focus on Southeast Asia.
In a shift in strategy, Mitsubishi could maintain a European presence and sell models built in underused Renault factories in France, the Financial Times mentionned. The plan could still collapse, according to the newspaper.
Mitsubishi has not built cars in Europe since the company sold its Nedcar production plant in the Netherlands in 2012.
Renault and Nissan already have cross-production in Europe. Renault builds the small car Nissan Micra at its plant in Flins, France, as well as commercial vans for Nissan in Maubeuge and Sandouville, France. Until recently, Nissan manufactured the Renault Alaskan pickup truck at its Barcelona factory.
Renault CEO Luca de Meo has said he wants to increase the capacity utilization of Renault factories to 120% by 2025, from 70% now.
Renault has already said its Flins plant will stop making cars and instead be used to refurbish used cars and other “circular economy” activities.
A decision by Mitsubishi to stay in Europe could mean the automaker will sell the redesigned Outlander in the region. The midsize SUV will go on sale in the United States in April.
The current plug-in hybrid version of the Outlander was the best-selling plug-in hybrid in Europe for a long time, but it lost that title to the Mercedes A-Class last year, according to data from the analyst. car industry based in Germany Matthias Schmidt.
Mitsubishi’s best-selling model in Europe is the aging Mirage / Space Star small car. The automaker sold 35,669 units of the small sedan in the region last year, according to market researchers JATO Dynamics.
The low-tech model is imported from Thailand and could be a prime candidate to switch to Renault production.
Mitsubishi had already reversed an earlier decision not to sell the Eclipse Cross plug-in hybrid compact SUV in Europe and the model is now on sale in Germany and other markets.
Asked about the Financial Times report, Mitsubishi said its decision last summer to freeze the development of new cars for Europe remains the same.