New Mitsubishis, intended for disposal through brokers to daily rental companies and bodyshops, have been sold on the open market.
A former Mitsubishi dealer circulated to motor industry newspapers a confidential letter from Mitsubishi UK managing director Jim Tyrrell outlining the strategy.
A spokesman for the company said: “We had 500 Pinin 3drs and wanted to clear the stock. Ten of them were sold on the open market.”
Mr Tyrrell wrote to dealers about the intention to accelerate the clearance of old stock by supplying a number of vehicles to Avis and Hertz.
In most cases, he said, the discounts were similar to those offered to dealers though in some cases they might have been higher for significant volumes.
Mr Tyrrell said supplies had been stopped to companies which sold them on the open market.