It's Still a Waiting Game for Mitsubishi Galant Replacement | Edmunds

It's Still a Waiting Game for Mitsubishi Galant Replacement

Just the Facts:
  • Despite a highly touted announcement last November, Mitsubishi and Nissan-Renault have not yet finalized a plan to develop a midsize car that would replace the Mitsubishi Galant.
  • A Galant replacement would target the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, among others.
  • The Galant was discontinued in 2012.

CHICAGO Despite several months of discussions, Mitsubishi and Nissan-Renault have not yet finalized a plan to develop a midsize car for the Japanese automaker to sell in the United States. The car would replace the Mitsubishi Galant, a Japanese offering that lagged the pack in the midsize sedan segment.

Mitsubishi announced last November that an agreement had been reached between the two automakers to develop a midsize sedan that would be based on a Renault model.

Mitsubishi has not offered a midsize sedan in the U.S. market since the 2012 model, the last year for its Galant.

"We have had multiple meetings with them, but no final decisions yet on what direction," Don Swearingen, executive vice president, Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., told Edmunds. "We have to have the right product at the right price."

Asked if there is a target date for U.S. sales, Swearingen said, "We don't really have the timing in place. The direction to our management is move as quickly as possible."

In that November announcement, Mitsubishi also said Nissan-Renault would develop a global compact sedan for the Japanese automaker and an electric vehicle. Swearingen did not reveal the status of those discussions.

"Our interest here in the U.S. is more focused on the D segment (midsize sedan)," he said. "We have a lot of Galant customers coming out of their vehicles, and we are getting them into a lot of other Mitsubishis."

Swearingen was interviewed at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show.

"But if (car shoppers) are still looking for that sedan in that D segment, we just don't have it," he said. "We know that is a huge gap we need to fill."

The midsize sedan segment is made up of such vehicles as the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry.

"That is a huge segment. We have sold many cars in that segment, and we know it is something that consumers still want," he said. "We are looking at this partnership as an opportunity to better utilize a production facility. We want to make sure that we can not only deliver a competitive product, but we can make it at a competitive price, and make it efficient for ourselves and our partners."

Although the Galant was assembled at Mitsubishi's plant in Normal, Illinois, Swearingen said it is more likely that the new sedan would be imported. Renault has capacity outside the United States.

Among the issues to be determined is whether the midsize sedan would have its own styling or be a rebadged Renault model.

"We are discussing both of those topics," he said.

Edmunds says: The midsize sedan segment is one of the most competitive vehicle segments in the United States. A stylish Renault-designed model might be the right direction to draw buyers to Mitsubishi.

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