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Revitalisation plan to boost Mitsubishi UK

Phase two of the Mitsubishi recovery programme – based on a £2.5bn cash injection by the Japanese group – will further strengthen the UK distributor and its dealer network, says managing director Jim Tyrrell.

An immediate investment of £1.3bn, and a £1.25bn loan, have come from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI, with 15% stake in MMC), Mitsubishi Corporation (MC, 14%) and Bank of Mitsubishi Tokyo (BMT, 5%).

Mitsubishi Corporation has a 49% stake in Colt Car Company, which trades as Mitsubishi Motors UK. David Blackburn retains a 51% stake in Colt which last year completed 30 years as UK distributor.

Tyrrell sees only advantages for the UK from the new corporate strategy. “We were Mitsubishi’s most successful market in Europe last year,” he says. “We’re an independent distributor and want to remain so – I do not expect any change in the short to medium term. Tim Tozer and his team at Mitsubishi Motors Europe have more pressing problems.”

DaimlerChrysler held a controlling 34% share of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) until May 2004 but lost confidence in its investment as losses mounted. Since last September, when DC’s stake was given as 20.7%, it has sold no shares, but the value of its stake has been diluted by the new investment.

Mitsubishi Motors UK has 143 dealers, owned by 93 companies, and by the end of this year intends to turn those figures into to 150/75. Tyrrell, who has run the company for five years, says: “That has been our intention for some time and the corporate plan doesn’t affect it.”

He adds: “I will not call our dealers together to talk about it because much of it was in last year’s anouncement.”

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