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In a letter issued to its customers, Ralliart, a Japanese high-performance subsidiary of Mitsubishi, has announced that it is closing its doors. The company's business case has apparently faded, a victim of the wilting domestic aftermarket scene as well as its lack of continued motorsports involvement.

Naturally, we wondered if and how the closure of the company responsible for its high-performance parts and related merchandise would impact the development, production and marketing of Mitsubishi vehicles sold here in the States – more specifically, the Lancer Ralliart and Sportback Ralliart models. To answer that question, we spoke with Mitsu spokesman Maurice Durand, and he informs us that the closure of Ralliart will not, in fact, have any affect on the availability or continued marketing of these models (or any future branded offerings), as Mitsubishi owns the rights to the name, logo, and so on. Furthermore, all licensing agreements in foreign countries remain intact.

So, while you may not be able to get a genuine JDM Ralliart strut-tower brace or shift knob, you can breath easy that the SportBack that you've been saving your lunch money for will still be at your local dealer by the time you've got enough scratch. Official press release after the jump.

Show full PR text
Partial Cease of Business Activities along with Ralliart Inc's
Business Scale Down
Ralliart Inc (President Masao Taguchi) has announced as follows.

Dear all of our customers ,

First of all, we much appreciate for your usual patronage to our company.
Our company have done the various activities relating motorsport with the support of many people since the establishment in April,1984 so far. However, because of the sudden change of economy situation since the year before last, the business circumstance surrounding our company radically became worse and so, this time we have reached the conclusion that we Ralliart Inc., would scale down our business activities as of the end of March 2010.

Along with the scale down of our business activities this time, we would cease the following business and operation which we have done so far. We would like to express our sincere apology to all of customers though we would make you much inconveniences.

Meanwhile, we wish you a continuous support to Ralliart family and entrants driving Mitsubishi cars who play an active part all over the world.

Items which would cease our business and operation along with our business scale down;

1. Support to motorsport customers(Support to the participation, Technical Support, and Awarding of Mitsubishi/Ralliart Driver of the Year)
2. New Planning, Development and Merchandize of Ralliart products (Except FIA VO parts) :*1
3. Information of new products and dispatching motorsport information(at web):*2

*1 FIA VO parts development and those application work shall be done by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation as it is.
*2 FIA Group-N information shall be open at the web site of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.

Date of the cease: 1st April, 2010

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Who remembers the Starion?....or the Zeke?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sad news, but no surprise. I'll forever miss seeing that iconic banner flying across the windshields of red & white WRC & SCCA cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      People still buy Mitsubishi?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Since you brought it up, I always thought that Chrysler taking on Mitsu as a "partner" was a bad idea.

        In the early 90's whenever you saw a Caravan or Voyager blowing blue smoke, there was nearly always that 3.0 Mitsu v-6 under the hood.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes. I'm on my second Evo.

        I hope this is an April Fool's joke which will follow with an announcement back into the WRC.

        If not, where the heck is Jackie Chan when you need him!!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        In the UK, Mitsubishi only commands about 0.5% of the market - about the same as Chevrolet does - but 2010 sales year to date are double what they were in 2009.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They haven't cared for the european market for years now. The eclipse (the only interesting car after the Evo) wasn't sold here since 2000. Which means there are currently only 3 Cars in the lineup. Ugh.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I can't see how this company stays in the business in the US market. I know the Lancer EVO gets critical acclaim, but I'm not sure I've ever seen one, or noticed. Sorry but in my mind a Mitsubishi is a 3rd tier import brand sold mostly to people with bad credit.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I see WRX's all the time, I think Ive seen 3 Ralliarts. Last gen Evo's are rare but more common than new ones.

        Ralliarts are cool, I would like to have one, but Mitsubishi is crazy if they think they can sell a car thats inferior to the WRX for more money than a WRX. They have a really stupid business model which is why nobody drives a Mitsubishi anymore, they need to learn the meaning of competition.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I've owned a lot of vehicles, and my '01 Mitsubishi Galant was the best car I have ever owned.
        • 5 Years Ago
        that's funny cause here in Miami its the complete opposite..

        This morning I saw my FIRST WRX Sedan since they came out (arount the same time the Ralliarts came out) and well I see a Ralliart sedan almost daily... and personally know about 7 local Ralliart owners... not only that but Evos X are actually more common than VIII and IX, and there's a lot of those down here
        • 5 Years Ago
        I just hope that, if things continue to get worse, Mitsubishi goes to a being one-model brand, like Corvette in the UK, instead of folding completely. Losing the Evo would be such a shame. God only knows why they don't apply that world-class engineering know-how to their volume sellers...
      • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Perhaps if Mitsu had sold the Eclipse with a proper styling look, and a proper turbo 4 or V6 and AWD drivetrain in a coupe... with the RalliArt name, like the Concept RA...

      They could have sold enough to give Mitsu and RalliArt some market traction.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If Mitsu were to resurrect the gen 2 Eclipse with a proper GSR & GSX packages, they'd still be in the game. The bloated things they now sell are abominable.
      • 5 Years Ago
      People tend to forget that Mitsubishi sold almost 300,000 to 400,000 cars per year in USA at their peak in 2000-2003 (roughly what Hyundai is currently selling). Bad management decisions will bring any company down big time. They need someone at the top that knows wtf is doing. Their MMNA division is clueless as to how brand/market cars. Entire Project America was a total failure, Mitsubishi was doing fine when it was selling more of their global offerings instead of trying to release models for USA only. Their current offerings such as Lancer/Outlander (global products) are really very good products at its price points, their NA only cars such as Endeavor/Galant/Eclipse are plain simply outdated.

      Mitsubishi can't sell many cars if they don't offer anything to sell. If they could bring Colt, iMIEV, and even Grandis, their sales would improve simply because they would offer more, non-overlapping products that would eat away from competition. Right now they really have two cars available for sale in USA that are worth something (Lancer/Outlander), rest is forgettable. Good news for Mitsu is that their are fairly advanced in EV development and I read couple of articles stating that basically whatever resources Mitsu Motors has, it will mostly go into EV/hybrid development. They already have the iMIEV out in Japan and UK and in 2012/2013 there will be a new batch of cars coming out with advanced powertrain technologies. I am guessing, since they dont have huge r&D budgets that they basically have given up on current platforms and are concentrating on 2012/2013 releases. Besides, Mitsubishi Motors, except for North America is a pretty solid brand, outselling Honda/Toyota in many markets. They need to work on brand perception in USA, releasing couple of EVs as one of the first companies in USA would definitely help and thats what they are betting on.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You're spot on. I work for Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada and what I've seen here north of the 49th is nothing but positive growth and future growth potential.

        MMSC started out, essentially, as a subsidiary arm of MMNA. Once our sales started to grow and we started to make our own decisions we branched out. We now report directly to Japan rather than through our American sister company. We've started bringing vehicles to market with a different strategy (vis, the Lancer Sportback came to Canada first) and are continuing to do so with the 'i' car.

        However there's a lot that needs to be done. I agree 100% - we diluted the quality of our mid-sized SUV when we replaced the Montero Sport with the Endeavor. Nice truck but it doesn't hold a candle to its older sibling.

        We desperately need to bring the Colt into Canada. That car bears so much name recognition it would be an instant hit. I can already envision waiting lists for the first two years like we had when the Eclipse, Eclipse Spyder, Lancer GTS and Lancer Evolution X first came out.

        The Grandis would be a huge hit. People in our market place are telling us with their wallets that they don't want full sized "mini vans" anymore. They want compact 7 seaters and that's exactly the market the Grandis would hit.

        The Galant and Endeavor are tired models, the Eclipse and Spyder aren't shiny and new anymore. All the vehicles in their respective segments have fully moved on and modernized and right now all four are presently left in the lurch.

        In a Canadian car market that was down over 21% last year, Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada was up nearly 7%. That puts us 28% ahead of the market and that's just not bad. We had 8 record breaking months last year (consecutively!) and show nothing but positive growth potential. A brand new state of the art parts distribution facility is coming to Canada by the end of the year which will stabilize accessory parts pricing and enable faster, more efficient supply of parts to dealerships all across the country. Our dealer network is scheduled to grow from 86 dealers nationwide to 100 dealers by the end of next year. In a market where manufacturers are closing dealerships like wildfire that's a really positive sign.

        Mitsubishi Motor Sales, as a company, is strong and getting stronger. Now if only the corporate bigwigs at MMNA would sit down and listen to their Canadian counterparts maybe we could re-invigorate the brand on this continent and make it a real force to be reckoned with.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Great, they sold many cars in the early 2000's but where are they now?

        I don't see too many on the road anymore. If I do, and they are black, the paint is peeling off. Mitsubishi, in the US at least, isn't regarded as a worthy manufacturer.

        Aside from the fantastic Evo, Mitsubishi just doesn't produce anything that is competitive at all.
        • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Isn't PSA in talks to buy a large stake in Mitsubishi? Perhaps they are buying the whole car division. Shuting down divisions to cut costs is usually a prelude to a sale.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Mitsubishi never got rid of their bad image from the 90's with all the recalls and bad crash ratings. Same deal with Hyundai at the moment and soon Suzuki will have to try and shake their old image once they bring out their new models and that problem had stuck with Mitsubishi for a long time and in some way helped kill Mitsubishi sales. True the market here in the US for Mitsu has been horrible and I would have to blame it on corporate not knowing what cars to bring in and how to market them...when they did attempt to bring a car that's wanted here they screw it up by bringing in a watered down version or a car completely different that no one wants.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I pray that PSA does buy Mitsubishi AND that they sell PSA cars here, even if they are re-badged as Mitsubishis.

      p.s. "Effect", not "Affect" F.Y.I.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have to totally agree with the Mitsubishi presence in Canada

      My first real new car was the 2003 OZ Rally edition, and even in Toronto, I had a hard time finding a dealer (it was actually a Honda dealership turned Mitsubishi)

      I love the car, it has been good for over 200K. In the meantime there have been at least 4 new dealerships opening between where I got my car and where I live. The newest is right in my home town, where a Saturn dealership is turning into Mitsubishi.

      I like the Ralliart edition of the new lancer (not too sure about not having manual) Kind of miss the yellow paint job too.

      But all and all, Canadian Mitsubishi is on a roll, with great products, and I know definitely where my next came is coming from.

      • 5 Years Ago
      I thought Mitsubishi died years ago.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Mitsubishi worth paying attention to died years ago. Remember the 3000GT, or the Gallant VR-4, the Starion, the late 90s Evo IV and V that we all drooled over here in the states but couldn't have? Those were the days when Mitsubishi was awesome.
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