Express Drives was the one to break the news about Hindustan Motor Finance Corporation Limited in talks with a Jamshedpur-based component supplier for a probable tie-up. The deal involved the latter taking over the reins from HMFCL and directly coordinating with Mitsubishi Japan. Express Drives has now learned that the deal has fallen through and HMFCL is back to square one. Earlier, HMFCL had stoically denied that this tie-up was happening. So, nearly a year later, what’s happening at HMFCL and can we expect to see any new Mitsubishi products? Moreover, what happens to the existing dealerships, workshops and more importantly, will the Mitsubishi nameplate fade just like Opel, GM, Chevrolet and many others did previously in India. This time, we got an email response from HMFCL about all these questions. Let’s get started with HMFCL’s side.
The HMFCL spokesperson said that multiple BS6 compliant models are under development at Mitsubishi Motors. He further stated that the development of these models has been delayed due to the pandemic. HMFCL has its dealer network in 20 locations to take care of the aftersales needs of Mitsubishi products. He added that the dealerships are ready to continue with the current as well as future Mitsubishi-HMFCL business in India.
A source in the know-how, however, has an altogether different version. This source, a Mitsubishi fanatic, also owned a few company dealerships and workshops. Our source revealed that HMFCL is on the verge of closure (the company is yet to comment on this) and is cash-strapped. The tie-up with the Jamshedpur-based company was supposed to infuse fresh cash flow into the system. However, with that deal out of the picture, HMFCL will either have to find a new partner or give up its business altogether. At present, the source claims, HMFCL only has six employees in its fold. The dealerships don’t have any new products to sell and the 11 showrooms that were active have said to have downed their shutters. Express Drives spoke to a few erstwhile Mitsubishi dealers in India and they claimed that HMFCL hasn’t refunded them the dealer deposit.
A couple of the dealers also said that they were contemplating legal action. Spare parts too were said to be in acute shortage as HMFCL doesn’t have enough funds to import these from Japan. The source said that the last car HMFCL sold in India was a Pajero Sport and this was in January 2020. Around 11 Outlanders were claimed to have been languishing at the stockyards before the BS6 norms kicked in. SIAM data corroborates with the source’s information. HMFCL managed to move only one car and overall 30 cars from April 2019-January 2020. From April 2018-January 2019, the company cumulatively sold 164 vehicles. At one point in time, HMFCL had also requested the Indian government to defer the BS6 norms so that they can sell the remaining products.
HMFCL’s contract with Mitsubishi Japan ended last May. The source says that the company couldn’t renew it. Companies with these low (consistently?) sales numbers have packed and left India. Fiat is a recent example. As things stand today, one cannot buy a Mitsubishi car in India. At least a new one. The company has also pulled the plug on the Pajero nameplate. The Final Edition version was launched in Australia and claims to have only 800 units on sale. It has a 3.2-litre turbo diesel that is good for 191hp and 440Nm. A 5-speed automatic gearbox sends power to all four wheels. This model was sold as the Montero, a few years ago, in the Indian market.
Is this the end of Mitsubishi in India? Will we see new company products especially in the Hyundai Creta or Fortuner space? This, only time will tell but for now things certainly don’t look peachy for Mitsubishi in India and the only way complete clarity can be achieved is by the company responding to the concerns and queries raised by dealers and other stakeholders.
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