Late last year, it was reported that MMC is basing its next-gen Mitsubishi Lancer sedan on a Renault, but that plan has stalled. A relatively small company, Mitsubishi still wants to have a partner for the Lancer, but has already started work on the C-segment sedan.

“We are talking with a potential partner at this time, (but) at the same time we’re doing an internal design of the vehicle. We’re running parallel because we cannot wait any longer to see if a partnership will work out. If it falls through then we’re another year behind,” Mitsubishi Motors North America’s executive VP Don Swearingen told WardsAuto at the 2016 Outlander preview.

The potential partner is question is no longer Renault, and it has been reported that Mitsubishi is now in discussions with Nissan, which is of course Renault’s Alliance partner. MMC and Nissan have recent history of collaborating – Mitsu co-develops minicars with Nissan for the Japanese market, and in 2010 announced a Triton/Navara pick-up joint-venture which was later called off.
mitsubishi-lancer-gte-official-2The next-gen Lancer is still two years away, at least, so expect another facelift of the current car

When can we expect a next-gen Lancer to replace the current ageing car? Swearingen is unsure when MMC Japan wants to complete a pact, but says that even if a deal could be struck this year, a new Lancer still is 18 months to two years away.

Meanwhile, plans for a new Galant (discontinued in 2012) has been scrapped. “We’ve made the decision that D-segment will not work for us in the US. When you do the financial analysis and you look at the amount of money (needed) for advertising (and the amount) most of our competitors are spending on incentives, it doesn’t pencil out to do a partnership,” Swearingen said.

The auto industry, which is now more competitive than ever, is no easy place for a small player to thrive. Mitsubishi’s constant search for partners for one of its core products highlights the challenges a relative minnow faces today.