A decision by Japanese car giant Mitsubishi to withdraw from the UK has hit a Gloucestershire firm.
Mitsubishi chief executive Takao Kato announced on Monday, July 27, that they had “resolved to freeze the introduction of new models to the European market”.
The Colt Car Company (CCC) in Cirencester has been distributing the East Asian firm’s vehicles for nearly 50 years but will now look to find another franchise.
Sales of existing models will continue and CCC’s 350,000 Mitsubishi drivers in the UK will continue to receive their “full support”.
Conor Twomey, CCC’s general manager for press relations, said none of the 249 staff members’ jobs will be lost in light of this news in the near future but they will now be distributing new types of cars going forward.
Mr Twomey said: “It’s not like we had any long-term sight of this coming, we got a tiny bit of notice before announcement was made on Monday. It came as a tiny bit of a surprise to us as well. So we’re genuinely trying to wrap our heads around what this means for us as well.”
He added CCC is actively exploring new options for the business and is already having discussions with new, electric-vehicle focused brands.
“This is business, there’s nothing personal here,” Mr Twomey added. “I don’t want to create the impression that we’re full of vim and anger about Mitsubishi. We understand why they made this decision. Plus it’s not something they can talk about well in advance because news leaks and when they make the announcement, they need to be ready and get all their ducks in a row.
“Some outlets have reported that we’re leaving the UK. Firstly, we’re not. The Colt Car Company is UK based and even though Mitsubishi are pulling out of Europe and not launching anymore cars here – the existing range will remain on-sale for the foreseeable future and every customer who has a car will have full customer service support well in to the future.”
In an official statement, Mr Twomey said: “On Monday July 27 The Colt Car Company learned that Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is freezing the introduction of new vehicles in Europe, including the UK.
“The current range of Mitsubishi vehicles will remain on sale, however, and our valued customers can be assured that they will continue to receive FULL support in terms of service, repair, warranty, recalls, parts and accessories well into the future.”