On May 30, Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun reported that Mitsubishi Motors plans to continue to suspend new car production in China after June this year. A Mitsubishi spokesman said the company was discussing with Chinese partners when to resume production in China, but did not disclose when.
As of the time of publication, GAC Mitsubishi and GAC Group did not respond to the above news.
However,"Auto Industry Concern" is not surprised by the news that Mitsubishi Motors continues to extend its shutdown time in China. Since March this year, GAC Mitsubishi has been caught up in the shutdown storm. At the end of April, Japanese media reported that due to low sales volume, Changsha factory, the only production base of GAC Mitsubishi Automobile in China, had suspended production of new cars from March 8 to May, and was expected to restart production of new cars in June. If this news is true, it means that GAC Mitsubishi Automobile will continue to extend the shutdown time to after May, and it is impossible to determine when production can resume.
"Automobile Industry Concern" believes that GAC Mitsubishi suspended the production of new cars in China or related to these factors. First, as reported by Japanese media, the shutdown is due to the rapid growth of electric vehicle demand in China market, Mitsubishi Motors stopped producing fuel SUV in China; Second, Mitsubishi Motors suffered huge losses in the Chinese market. According to the financial report announcement of GAC Group, by the end of 2022, the total assets of GAC Mitsubishi were 5.961 billion yuan, the total liabilities were 5.953 billion yuan, and the asset-liability ratio was as high as 99.87%, which was on the verge of insolvency.
As one of the earliest Japanese brands to enter the Chinese market, Mitsubishi Motors has been in China for 50 years so far. As early as 1973, Mitsubishi sold medium-sized trucks in China. Since then, two joint ventures, Southeast Automobile and GAC Mitsubishi, have been established in the Chinese market. However, although Mitsubishi Motors 'layout of the Chinese market is very early, looking back at Mitsubishi's wasted time in China, its development in the Chinese market is not smooth.
In 2004, Mitsubishi cooperated with BAIC to establish Beijing Mitsubishi, but its sales volume was dismal. Two years later, Mitsubishi switched to Fuqi and jointly held shares in Southeast Automobile with Yulong and Fuqi. Since then, Southeast Automobile has independently developed Lingshuai, Lingshen, Lingli and other models based on Mitsubishi Automobile. In 2013, it reached an all-time sales peak of 116,000 vehicles. However, Mitsubishi only holds 25% of the shares and has no say. Therefore, Mitsubishi hopes to increase its shareholding ratio in Southeast Automobile. However, it ended in failure. For this reason, Mitsubishi found another way out, established GAC Mitsubishi Automobile Co., Ltd. in cooperation with GAC, and stopped introducing new models to Southeast Mitsubishi.
In May 2012, GAC Group, Mitsubishi Automobile Industry Co., Ltd. and Mitsubishi Corporation jointly established GAC Mitsubishi Joint Venture Company, with shareholding ratios of 50%, 9.35% and 40.65% respectively.
According to the data, the sales volume of GAC Mitsubishi from 2013 to 2016 was 43035 vehicles, 63199 vehicles, 56317 vehicles and 55888 vehicles respectively. In September 2016, GAC Mitsubishi's domestic Outlander model was launched in China, and the launch of this model brought short-term highlights to GAC Mitsubishi. From 2017 to 2018, the sales volume of GAC Mitsubishi was 117388 vehicles and 144018 vehicles respectively, with year-on-year growth of 110.04% and 22.69% respectively.
However, with the change of automobile market pattern, new energy vehicles accelerate to encroach on fuel vehicle market, independent brands continue to attack, while GAC Mitsubishi models are launched singly, core products Outlander iteration is slow and electric absence and other problems, GAC Mitsubishi sales volume in China market is very passive. Although GAC Mitsubishi successively introduced Yige, Jinxuan and other products since then, the launch of new cars finally failed to bring improvement to the sales volume of GAC Mitsubishi, but appeared a sharp decline. From 2019 to 2021, the sales volume of GAC Mitsubishi was 133016 vehicles, 75001 vehicles and 66006 vehicles respectively, with a year-on-year decline of 7.64%, 43.62% and 11.99% respectively, with a year-on-year decline for three consecutive years. In 2022, the sales volume of GAC Mitsubishi was only 29112 vehicles, down 56.70% year-on-year, among which Outlander sold 25860 vehicles in the whole year, accounting for 88.82% of the total sales volume, but fell 52.69% year-on-year.
After entering 2023, the situation of GAC Mitsubishi is even more precarious. As Mitsubishi Motors 'main joint venture in China, GAC Mitsubishi has been delisted rumors for many times since the beginning of this year. Although the official has repeatedly denied that the company is in normal operation and promised not to withdraw from China, it has become a marginal brand.
According to the data, from January to March 2023, the cumulative sales volume of GAC Mitsubishi declined by 57.95% year-on-year to 3969 vehicles, which is the brand with the highest decline under GAC Group, among which the cumulative sales volume of New Outlander is 3689 vehicles; the total sales volume of Atuco is 169 vehicles, and only 90 vehicles and 21 vehicles of Yige and Jingxuan models respectively. In April, GAC Group directly "eliminated" GAC Mitsubishi from the sales list. As for why GAC Mitsubishi's sales volume was not announced, GAC Group gave the explanation: "In April, the Group's production and sales announcement merged GAC Mitsubishi into 'others', mainly because GAC Mitsubishi's monthly production and sales accounted for a relatively small proportion, so it was no longer listed separately."
According to the official website, at present, GAC Mitsubishi is selling four models including New Outlander, New Jinxuan, Yige and New Energy Model Atuco, but the actual driving model is only one model of Outlander. However, from the analysis of the overall fuel vehicle plate of the automobile market, although the new generation of Outlander has been renewed in November 2022, there is not much improvement in sales volume. In addition, in the field of new energy, GAC Mitsubishi is unable to introduce new models at present. Therefore, it is not difficult to predict the subsequent overall sales trend of GAC Mitsubishi. Under this background, the prospect of GAC Mitsubishi in China market is hardly optimistic.
Compared with Toyota and Honda, Mitsubishi's volume in the Chinese market is not large, and Mitsubishi's own products in China are single and the channel layout is very limited. If GAC Mitsubishi cannot quickly change the situation of "acclimatization", it may only be a matter of time to withdraw from the Chinese market. The industry believes that with the rapid increase in the penetration rate of new energy vehicles, the industry has entered the "elimination competition", and the exit of marginal joint venture brands may become the normal state of the industry.
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