Mitsubishi Motors Shuts Down its Operations in China

After years of dismal sales in a market that is fast shifting to electric vehicles, Mitsubishi Motors has suspended its China operations indefinitely and will lay off its staff.

According to a company document distributed on Chinese social media, the Japanese automaker said that its existing line-up had been negatively impacted by China’s switch to cleaner vehicles and that sales had fallen far short of projections. The official notification reads:

“In the past few months, management and shareholders have tried to the best of our ability, but due to market conditions and with great reluctance and regret, we must seize the opportunity to transition to new energy vehicles. The company will resurrect after going through trials and tribulations.”

Mitsubishi’s failure in China is an example of the pressure on other Japanese automakers, who have lagged in developing electric cars and lost market share to upstart rivals like Tesla and BYD. While Honda and Nissan sales in China have been declining for at least two years, Toyota deliveries plunged last year for the first time in a decade.

Related: BYD Dominates the Sales Charts in China During H1-2023

Mitsubishi’s yearly sales in China reached a peak in 2019 of about 134,500. In 2022, the company manufactured 34,575 automobiles there; this number dropped to 1,530 in January and then to nothing in April. Only 515 Airtrek electric SUVs were sold in China by Mitsubishi last year.

In an effort to keep up with other automakers’ transition to more environmentally friendly vehicles, Mitsubishi earlier this year announced intentions to electrify 100% of the cars it sells globally by fiscal 2035 and to invest up to 1.8 trillion ($13 billion) in electrification by 2030.

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