A restyled Renault – with different lights and badges – will form the basis of the first Mitsubishi electric vehicle for Europe in more than a decade.
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Mitsubishi’s first new electric car for markets outside of Japan or China in 15 years will be a Renault with tweaked styling – and a different badge.
The Japanese car giant also appears to have back-tracked on plans to sell the vehicle internationally, confirming it for the European market only – and stopping short of discussing any global ambitions.
Last month Renault CEO Luca de Meo announced plans for a new Mitsubishi small electric SUV to be built in Renault’s Douai, France factory “for the world”.
At the time no details were provided on how closely related the Mitsubishi would be to an equivalent Renault, other than it would be underpinned by the AmpR Medium (formerly CMF-EV) electric-car platform co-developed by Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi.
A teaser image shown by the car giants at a media conference in recent days confirms it will be another lightly-restyled version of a Renault vehicle – albeit with more differentiation than the other Mitsubishis based on Renaults.
Over the past 18 months, the Renault Clio city hatch and Captur city SUV have been rebranded and sold as the Mitsubishi Colt and ASX respectively in Europe, where Mitsubishi has a far smaller presence than in Australia, Japan or Southeast Asia.
Mitsubishi global CEO Takao Kato told the media conference “Ampere will supply a C-segment SUV BEV on an OEM business in the European market.”
Ampere is the subsidiary of Renault which invests in and develops the French car maker’s electric cars – while “OEM business” is how Renault group executives refer to the rebadging arrangement that led to Renault’s Clio and Captur gaining Mitsubishi versions in Europe.
The silhouette of the new Mitsubishi is a match for the new Renault Scenic E-Tech – a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross-sized electric SUV built in the Douai factory, on the AmpR Medium (or CMF-EV) platform.
However it appears that – compared to the ASX and Colt, which were different in badges only – there will be more differences between the Scenic and the new electric Mitsubishi.
The body structure and door openings appear to be the same as the Renault, but the headlights, tail-lights, bumpers, and shape of the trim behind the rear-side windows appear to be unique.
“In the European market as you know we have already started selling the ASX and the Colt, which are OEM-based models provided by Renault,” said Kato-san.
“They have been well received by our customers and we are considering the introduction of additional models by Renault.”
It looks to be a U-turn from previous comments by the top Mitsubishi executive, who admitted to Australian media in July 2023 in regards to the Renault-based ASX:
“People know that is a vehicle from Renault and not a real Mitsubishi, and I’m not very sure if it will be very well accepted by the Australian market.”
The Renault-based Mitsubishi electric vehicle will be the company’s first electric vehicle sold in a market other than Japan or China since the i-MiEV commenced production in 2009.
Since then it has sold the Airtrek, a rebadge of a Chinese car maker’s SUV, in China from 2022 – until it pulled out of the country earlier this year – while in Japan it offers the eK X EV, a tiny ‘kei’ city car which is under consideration for Australia.