Mitsubishi getting a new flagship luxury sedan from NissanThu, 22 Sep 2011
Mitsubishi Motors Corp. is getting a new flagship luxury model that could--in Japan at least--be a successor to the Diamante sedan that was killed off in 2004.
Under an agreement announced Sept. 22, Mitsubishi will start selling a rebadged version of the Nissan Fuga sedan--known in the United States as the Infiniti M--in Japan next summer.
Mitsubishi said it is not considering selling the vehicle overseas. It also declined to say what the car would be called or what the company's sales target is.
As part of the agreement, the two companies have also begun negotiations about Nissan receiving a version of Mitsubishi's Minicab-MiEV all-electric commercial minivan.
The deal is just the latest between Mitsubishi and Nissan Motor Co.--the companies signed a cooperation agreement in December 2010.
Nissan has already agreed to provide its NV200 Vanette compact van to Mitsubishi, and the two companies formed a joint venture to make mini vehicles for Japan's domestic market.
Mitsubishi's bid to get a rebadged Fuga from Nissan was expected.
President Osamu Masuko said earlier this year the plan was under study. But he denied that that Mitsubishi would leverage OEM manufacturing deals to flesh out its U.S. lineup.
Still, adding an Infiniti-based offering could spice up its offerings in North America. Mitsubishi's aging Galant is the current top rung offering in the United States. Mitsubishi has already announced it will phase out the car by 2013.
Mitsubishi's previous flagship, the Diamante, saw its sales peak at 25,267 in 1993. But volume dipped below 10,000 before Mitsubishi decided in 2004 to kill it.
By Hans Greimel- Automotive News