By on November 11, 2013


Reports out of South Korea are confirming the news that French car enthusiasts have been waiting on for decades: Americans will soon be able to buy French cars again, with Renault Samsung confirming that the first Mitsubishi-branded product exported to America will be the Renault-Samsung SM5.

Just-Auto is reporting that the first product, a D-Segment sedan, will be based on the Renault-Samsung SM5, which is sold in other markets as the Renault Latitude and Safrane. The unnamed C-Segment car slated to follow is said to be the Renault-Samsung SM3, also known as the Renault Fluence. The two South Korean-built cars no benefit from a free trade deal between America and South Korea, and give Mitsubishi a way to replace the aging Lancer and plug a hole in its US lineup without having to shell out the R&D dollars to develop new products. In return, Renault-Nissan will benefit from Mitsubishi’s experience in developing kei-cars and other minicars for world markets.

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40 Comments on “Renault-Samsung Confirms Mitsubishi Product Offerings, US Will Get SM5...”

  • avatar

    French car enthusiasts?

    • 0 avatar

      Generally known as people who suffer from grass is greener on the other side syndrome who will be very disappointed when they learn that America really has not been missing out all that much over the past 20ish years without French cars.

      • 0 avatar

        Ah. Aside from flashes of the Citroën in Scarface, I couldn’t even think of a French car. Although now the more I think about it I saw some Peugeots in Ireland but they were quite forgettable.

        • 0 avatar

          Well I’ve a few examples.

          Peugeot mI5 was quite nice.

          Citroen Xsara and Xantia (Ronin) were awesome looking.

          C6 was awesome.

          DS was of course revolutionary.

          The SM was interesting as well. And don’t forget the Renault Avaantime.

          But they dont MAKE any of these any more, and nothing they produce is interesting. The SM5 isn’t interesting either, though its as ubiquitous in SK as the Camry is here.

        • 0 avatar

          Ultimate French car of nowadays is, IMHO, the Logan. It’s almost as good as Panda. They also make a semi-decent van Espace.

  • avatar

    I refuse to buy it until it is a Renault-Mitsubishi-Samsung-Lancia-Kitchenaid.

  • avatar

    man whats up with the autoplay adds today?

  • avatar

    Well, I suppose Mitsubishi had to do SOMETHING so they could pretend they had a functional US brand, but I don’t think this is an idea that is going to work real well, unless these are REALLY good cars.

    I think they are at the point where it’s just time to pull the plug and stop throwing good money after bad; they simply let the product line get way too old.

    • 0 avatar

      They aren’t. They’re just average and you may as well have a Nissan since it’s got a better badge. I drove an SM5 for a whole day and I wasn’t impressed.

      • 0 avatar

        Likewise, unimpressed with the SM5. I know a couple people who own these and one of the things I notice is just how flimsy the doors feel and sound.

        There’s a reason that the SM5 is the slowest selling domestic midsize in Korea. It’s just not that great a car, well behind the Sonata and the K5 (aka Optima).

  • avatar

    I sense a merger of equals!

  • avatar

    Really the last worthwhile thing Mitsu had in the US was the Montero full-size, and that’s been gone since 06.

  • avatar

    The Renault Latitude was sold here in Germany until 2012. I bought a new car this year in february and sadly did forget to check this model out. It would have been great I am sure. The Renault Latitude is (was) the perfect car for somebody who wants his car to be different and not too common. Just the opposite of a Golf, 3-series BMW…
    According to an article on (a newspaper) titled “these cars guarantee exclusivity” the Renault Latitude is Number 14 with 96 registered in 2012. Its 20 % more exclusive than the Ferrari California (121 registered) and much cheaper.

  • avatar

    This will really go well. No, seriously…

    I can already see the story about these in about 36 months:

    “François was a peculiar sort of guy. He always had to have the latest, most cool stuff. Leaving the French restaurant, he slowly pulled out the key to the Mitsubishi/Renault captive import that he had leased with his credit score of 480. Twisting the key, there were lights and buzzers all around. As for the engine, though, that was a different matter. As rude as a Parisian giving advice to culturally illiterate American tourists, the engine would not render any assistance to François. After five minutes of cursing and key twisting, nothing happened.

    François spit upon the ground as he called the motor club. His lease was up at the end of the month anyways. He told the driver to haul it to the nearest Mitsubishi dealer. Looking at the screen of his new iPhone, François determined that the closest Mitsubishi/Renault dealer was three states away. Shaking his head in disbelief, the tow truck driver entered the cab of the white Freightliner. With the truck speeding off with his prized automobile, François picked up his phone, and slowly dialed 1-866-707-2466.

    Thanks for calling. My name is Clarissa. How can I be of assistance today?

    I need to know where the nearest Scion dealership is.”

  • avatar

    if anyone else was scratching your head (like I was) about how Mitsu makes money in the USA, Mitsu is the third largest seller of cars to subprime borrowers behind Chrysler and Dodge.

    So by outsourcing its R&D and focusing on the subprime market (and perhaps parts for its cars), it looks like Mitsu can make its US operations worthwhile.

    ****The average loan for a Dodge charged an APR of 7.4 percent, and 23 percent of the loans had APRs of more than 10 percent, making it the brand with the highest percentage of loans for more than 10 percent, followed closely by Chrysler and Mitsubishi. Rates on subprime auto loans can climb to 19 percent, according to S&P.****

  • avatar

    Is that a Renault Clio RS in the top picture? Nope, guess not, just a boring sedan launching into a field of much better competitors.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Hey everyone wrote off Fiat when it was first announced they were coming back, they’ve done ok. So unless these Frenchie products self-destruct like Mr Pelphs’ tape recorder, there may be a market for them here!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Reminds me of the Coda EV.

    It’s tough to get an automotive alliance to work, particularly if all partners are supposed to make money in it. It’s even tougher if the goal is to get a toehold in a mature market.

  • avatar

    Only Renault you’d get me into is a hot hatch Megane.

    Which of course, will probably not be coming here.

  • avatar

    I’m eager to buy my daughter a Renault Zoe – how many people can buy a car with the same name?

    • 0 avatar
      Zekele Ibo

      Renault actually got sued by two girls called “Zoé Renault” (Renault is a reasonably common surname in France) due to the use of the name Zoe for their new car:

      They lost…

  • avatar

    Mitsubishi has to stay in the North American market because they have an assembly plant here and it would cost them a fortune to shut down both the dealer body and the assembly plant. They are putting their dollars on future CUV’s and SUV’s here and will supplement these models with cars from Renault/Samsung. Roger Penske was going to use the same strategy using Renault/Samsung vehicles when he was trying to buy the defunct Saturn division from GM. Roger is a smart man so I figure these products must be of acceptable quality. The SM5 actually looks like what a next generation Galant would have looked like had Mitsu produced one.

  • avatar

    Its debatable how “French” this car will be once it hits the states let alone how much it was at conception, aren’t French cars generally weird, a bit stylistic, and offered as a hatchback?

    Whatever it is, this SM5 thing looks like it’ll make a for a good rental.

  • avatar

    A Korean-built Samsung sold as a Mitsubishi? Sounds French to me…

  • avatar

    I’ve been traveling to Brazil monthly this year, and rented a lot of Renault Fluence’s. It’s a pretty good mid-size car, and although I am not a CVT fan, it is one of the few cars with balls down there. I’ll take it over a Fiat Linea anyday, or a Brazilian Ford Focus.

  • avatar

    I was hoping for the inclusion of Francois Hollande lunettes engaging that “may-I-be-of-service,” gesture of his. Instead I think folks here will pry a rare French diamond for their backpacks.

  • avatar

    They’re going to replace the Lancer with the Fluence? Why do they even bother selling cars when they’re not even going to invest in a new generation of their most well-known car?

  • avatar

    Samsung cars are nothing special. Even Koreans don’t seem to care much for them, or take much pride in them. Even Samsung itself basically bailed on the business, lending its name to the foreign companies running the company.

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