With Mitsubishi announcing its withdrawal from Europe, what impact will this have on brokers? Broker News put the questions to Clive Messenger, general manager of fleet operations.
Apart from the shock to yourselves and to Mitsubishi dealers, this news of the gradual cessation of European sales will have a substantial impact on leasing brokers. What do you have to say to them?
Our broker partners have been an important part of our business for many years and we have strong and positive relationships across the sector. We see no reason why these won’t continue into the future – so far the dialogues we’ve had with them have been very positive.
What will brokers notice immediately?
We are currently working through our plans on how the Mitsubishi business will evolve following MMC’s announcement. Our broker partners should see no significant changes immediately other than some more detailed updates from the team on what our plans look like once we have concluded them.
How much stock is there of current Outlander PHEV? And how will L200 stock be managed?
The announcement from MMC confirmed that no future new models would be introduced into the European market. However, we have access to and will continue to sell the current line for some time yet. We have access to good supply of Outlander PHEV and L200, both core models to the fleet market, particularly brokers. Both models can and will be sold well into next year.
Is there a possibility that all stock will now be directed to Mitsubishi retail outlets?
As mentioned, we are still working through our plans. We certainly will be making sure there is a compelling offering for our dealer partners, but supply to fleet and SME operators through brokers will also be in our plans.
Will current Mitsubishi broker partners continue?
For sure, they do a great job of accessing a customer base for us and we plan to continue working with and supporting them in their efforts into the future.
How many vehicles went through the broker channel in 2019?
We supplied around 4000 units through broker channels in 2019 which is about 40% of our overall fleet volume, with both the Outlander PHEV and L200 making up the lion’s share as you’d expect.
MD Rob Lindley has spoken about a replacement OEM for Mitsubishi. Would brokers still be relevant for the new brand?
As Rob has mentioned, we are currently considering all of our options including importing other brands into the UK. The market is certainly changing at a fast pace and this gives us a great opportunity to evolve with it. Naturally, we will want to explore all possible channels to market and we have a lot of experience and success with our broker partners, so there is no reason why we would not consider this channel with any future brands.
Finally, can you give us a timeframe for the phase out?
We learned on 27 July that MMC is freezing the introduction of future new models in Europe, including the UK, but the current range of cars will be available in the UK well into 2021. Thereafter, the ASX, Eclipse Cross and Outlander models lines will end but Mirage, Shogun Sport and L200 can be sold into 2022. Regardless of the eventual timings of vehicle sales, it is vital that all new and current customer are assured that they will continue to receive full support in terms of service, repair, warranty, recalls, parts and accessories well into the future.
Ralph Morton is the leading journalist in the leasing broker sector and editor of Broker News, the website which provides information and news for BVRLA-registered leasing brokers. He also writes extensively on the fleet and leasing market in both the UK and Europe.