By on January 6, 2015

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The next Renault Samsung SM5 has debuted in Korea, giving us a preview of Mitsubishi’s next entrant in the D-segment.

Mitsubishi and Renault Samsung previously announced a deal that sees the SM5 and the Lancer-sized SM3 arriving in North America to help fill the gap left by the Galant. The C-segment SM3 will replace the Lancer.

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31 Comments on “A Sneak Peak At Mitsubishi’s Newest Sedan...”

  • avatar

    I honestly feel bad for Mitsu. I used to own a 95 Galant. Rough around the edges but decent for its time. I was hoping that they would follow it up with something great but they never did. I guess that is what happens when you only have one platform for six cars back then.

  • avatar

    This really doesn’t make much sense to me, doing this.

    Breaking it down:
    What is a Renault-Samsung? A rebadged Nissan, mostly variations on the Teana.
    What is the Teana? Same thing as the Altima (SM5) and Maxima (SM7). The SM3 is Sentra-sized.

    The Altima and Maxima have a better badge on them than the Mitsubishi does. You will get more money when you sell it later, and have better dealer support in the meantime.

    MAKES NO SENSE, Mitsu. Go away.

    Edit: I’ve been in plenty of the current model SM5. There’s nothing amazing about it, or anything which would cause you to want it over an Altima. At least they’ll have gas engines here, unlike the (largely) LPG ones you find in Korea, which are utterly gutless with a CVT. However, you can floor it in the mountains all damn day long, and get 26mpg.

  • avatar

    Why is Mitsu still just piddling around. They either need to present a compelling value proposition or simply pull out of the market. (Go Big or Go Home.)

    When the first-gen Korean cars (i.e. Hyundai Excel) were complete and total disasters on the scale of the Yugo, they re-thought their strategy and invested a lot of funds in building adequate cars, sold them cheaply, and backed them with a bold 100k powertrain warranty. If the car was merely adequate, or merely cheap, or the long warranty was it’s sole redeeming feature, it would have flopped. But all three combined made for a compelling value, and now HyunKia is a well-established brand in the US.

    Mitsu, on the other hand, has few dealers in the US, and few models, none of which are particularly interesting. The cars they do have aren’t particularly great, particularly cheap, or exceptionally reliable/warranted. Most observers have the brand on perpetual death-watch in the US. Mitsu simply hasn’t presented any reason for US consumers to take the risk of choosing them. (And choosing Mitsu is certainly a risk, since consumers will be left high-and-dry if Mitsu pulls out of the US market.)

    Daewoo understood this, and after it didn’t take off as a standalone brand of generic cars, pulled out of the US market and went back to selling their designs through GM. Mitsu had a long relationship with Chrysler, but Chrysler now has a corporate parent it can borrow from, and has no need for Mitsu any more.

    I get the feeling that Mitsu and Volvo remain in the US more out of a sense of corporate stubbornness than any real expectation they’ll run at a profit any time soon.

    There are a lot of things Mitsu can try, but merely filling the holes in their lineup with an Altima clone and selling it at a slight discount isn’t going to work.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Daewoo also went bankrupt in 1998 (along with other Korean automakers not named Hyundai) and was bought out by GM and Suzuki.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Well said.

      Mitsubishi needs to stop trying in the established niches, and go for something unique.

    • 0 avatar

      Got to tell you, Hyundai and Kia also had strong ties to Mitsubishi throughout the 80s and 90s. Mazda as well. A Mitsu Hyundai example is the Galloper. A Kia Mazda example is the Enterprise.

      Mitsu has not been stand-alone for its cars in a long time. It’s always partnered with someone else.

      • 0 avatar

        Don’t forget Chrysler’s ties to Mitsubishi. ps I had a 1989 Mitsubishi Mighty Max truck, which I really liked.

        • 0 avatar

          In multiple attempts to keep the rent paid, Mitsubishi has had many, many temporary partners, but is still struggling to make ends meet, much like a cheap Nevada hoo… never mind.

        • 0 avatar

          And Diamond Star Motors (DSM) for the Eagle Talon and Mitsubishi Eclipse and Dodge Stealth and 3000GT/GTO, before we ever got to see an EVO.

        • 0 avatar

          My first new car was a ’76 Dodge Colt (Galant). Had it 5 years, and it ran very well. The engine (2-litre) had 2 sets of points, which I remember was occasionally a bit awkward – though I can’t recall why.

          My wife bought an ’83 Colt (Lancer), which she really liked – the hatchback design was especiallly handy for carrying bulky stuff. It had the twin-stick transmission.

          In the mid-late 70’s, The Economist ran a special survey of the Japanese motor industry. I recall they commented that Mitsubishi had especially finicky design and manufacturing techniques to ensure high-quality construction, to the point where other carmakers couldn’t figure out how they could make money on their product. Times have apparently changed…

      • 0 avatar

        I’m not quite sure what your point is. Yes, Mitsu has had, and has, partnerships with other carmakers. (I’m surprised you didn’t remind me of their close ties to Chrysler prior to the MB takeover.)

        My post talks about Mitsu’s prospects as a brand of cars in the US. Not about their corporate prospects as a production partner (or even their prospects as a brand globally.)

        With or without partners, their prospects as a brand in the US is dim with the current and planned lineup. They won’t rescue themselves from obscurity by selling yet more average products slightly value-priced, no matter where those cars were originally designed. It didn’t work for Daewoo. It didn’t work for Suzuki. It didn’t work for Isuzu. And it won’t work for Mitsubishi.

  • avatar

    Nice. Something for middle-management white collar guys with 514 FICOs to aspire to.

  • avatar

    Just bring over the Pajero/Montero already.

    Quit BS’ing.

    • 0 avatar

      Ah the Montero, that was a Mitsubishi!

      Top Gear USA Appalachian Trail episode – even Tanner had trouble killing a used one.

      • 0 avatar

        I wish TG USA was not so God-awful and I could watch it. But it is, so I can’t. I can’t stand dumb fat guy or short Hammond-imitator. Italian comedian isn’t all that into cars, and he’s not funny either.

        The program doesn’t have the cinematic appeal of TG UK, and the fact checking is terrible too.

        • 0 avatar

          And the fact checking on TGUK is good? Ha.

          I love the original Top Gear, but TG US had the better season last year. The TG UK saeason was awful. Dreadful. Not one episode that I want to rewatch.

          • 0 avatar

            I should clarify!

            TG UK has been on a big downhill slide the past couple-three years. Before that it was decent, with occasional bright spots like the Africa Nile Special.

            I don’t think they get many -facts- wrong, just state strong opinions which end up being wrong later. TG US had the Italian guy giving us facts about Oldsmobile which were incorrect. “By 2008, the last Oldsmobile rolled off the line,” or something like that, which was totally wrong.

            TG UK has pandered so much to capture the wide audience it desires that it’s really more about acting and scripted events than cars.

            But the characters are still better than TG US, who insists on rehashing every challenge that TG UK has done already, just changing the label from UK to US English.

          • 0 avatar

            I like that TG US only does “challenges” now. The first season, where they tried to photocopy the UK version was rough. I like their non-TGUK challenges, but they have too many episodes that have identical plots.

            I think the characters in TG US don’t have much to do with show ideas. It’s produced by the same people that produce TG UK.

  • avatar

    “Hey, look, we know how to make cars, too!”

    That pretty much sums up every recent Mitsubishi in a nutshell. Nearly every other manufacturer has *some* kind of passion or specialty that it injects into its vehicles, but with Mitsubishi, you get the sense that they’re just going through the motions, halfheartedly echoing whichever design and gadget trends happen to be “in” at the time. At this point, Mitsubishi’s cars don’t seem any less reliable or worse-built than industry averages, but they don’t do anything to compel me to buy one. I like cars that feel as though effort has been put into their design and their construction…and with Mitsubishi, I just don’t get that feeling, certainly not with *this* upcoming product.

  • avatar

    The last gen Galant looked dated from the moment of release. The current Lancer was a nice little car on the outside but late 1990s on the inside. Never drove a Galant but the Lancer was nice enough on the road. Terrible resale value though. How is Mitsubishi Canada’s health?

  • avatar

    Sneak Peak? Did K2 surprise someone?

  • avatar

  • avatar

    The SM5 is a nice enough car, but it’s all been done before, many times, by many automakers.
    If they don’t push them with easy credit, there would be no reason to buy one.

  • avatar
    Vojta Dobeš

    They sell SM5 as Renault Latitude here in Europe. It’s an utterly terrible excuse for an automobile.

    Or, I shall correct myself, it was utterly terrible excuse for an automobile some 3 or 4 years ago when I drove one. Now it’s probably worse.

    But on the other hands, Americans like big, cheap cars. This was certainly big and cheap. If they could sell it REALLY cheap, then maybe. But it would have to be EXTREMELY cheap. Like, sub-$20k?

  • avatar

    The Mitsubishi automotive brand in North America would make an interesting case study. Importing overseas models from joint partnerships is the first major step to shutting down MMNA manufacturing operations, IMO. I’ll quote myself from July:

    “Mitsubishi Int’l may just be waiting for most or all of the current sub 2,500 employees of the plant to retire. If they honor their UAW contracts they will get far less resistance from all parties when it is time to shut down the plant. Then they could simply import models from elsewhere and failing that a brand revocation becomes much cheaper and easier.”

  • avatar

    Mitsubishi will borrow from Renault, more specifically the Clio. Discard whatever French engine is presently in it. Install their GEMA variant 4B11 turbo (Evo X). Add AWD. Steal all GTI, Fiesta ST, Focus ST, MS3, etc sales.

    One can dream? This SM5 is the final nail in the coffin.

  • avatar

    Mitsubishi has an assembly plant in Normal, Illinois. It would cost them tens of millions of dollars to shutter the facility and abandon the U.S. market. They are content to eek out a miniscule share of the market and make a small profit on that. The Mirage is described as absolutely dreadful, yet it has been more successful than they originally anticipated. No reason to think a rebadged SM5 will be any less successful.

  • avatar

    I don’t think it’s tough to see why Mitsu hangs around. They cater to a growing demographic in the credit challenged. They don’t seem to be spending a ton on R&D for their American products. Why not keep shoving that excess plant capacity into the American market with easy credit terms?

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