Johannesburg - Mitsubishi customers in South Africa have been wondering what will be the short-term effect of the company's inclusion in the Nissan-Renault alliance, after its recent purchase of a 34 percent equity stake in Mitsubishi.
The short answer, according to SA distributor Imperial Holdings, is, not a lot.
Imperial has been the official custodian of the Mitsubishi brand in South Africa since 2011 and has recently signed a renewed five-year import, distribution, service and support agreement with the parent company.
It has welcomed Mitsubishi's adoption by the alliance, especially since the new three-way partnership will form one of the top three automotive groups worldwide, producing more than 10 million vehicles a year.
All three partners will benefit from synergies in joint purchasing, deeper localisation, joint plant utilisation, common vehicle platforms and technology-sharing, it says. Mitsubishi brings its expertise in 4x4 and plug-in hybrid engineering to the party, while re-establishing trust in the brand - tarnished by recent scandals - will be a top priority for the partnership.
To that end Nissan-Renault chairman Carlos Ghosn has been appointed chairman of the Mitsubishi board of directors, while Osamu Masuko has been persuaded to stay on as chief executive officer to ensure continuity during the turn-around period.
Meanwhile, says Imperial, it will be business as usual for customers in South Africa, with no disruption in the supply of new Mitsubishis or service for older ones.