Japan automotive manufacturer Mitsubishi Motors may reverse a decision to withdraw from Europe. Sources with knowledge of the matter said that the company will be discussing the issue during a board meeting scheduled for Thursday.
The same sources said Mitsubishi was approached by Renault and Nissan, which both pressured it to reconsider. The sources said the three companies had signed a framework agreement during an alliance meeting earlier in the week.
If Mitsubishi decides to reverse course, it would prove accurate earlier reports that it had yielded to a Renault campaign to protect French workers. Such a decision would allow Renault to continue producing Mitsubishi-branded cars at its French factories.
Mitsubishi is currently the smallest automotive company in the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. Renault holds a 43% stake in Nissan, which Nissan holds a 34% stake in Mitsubishi.
The French government, which holds a 15% stake in Renault, has been working to ensure the continued cooperation between the companies following the ousting and arrest of Alliance's former boss Carlos Ghosn in 2018.
Mitsubishi originally announced plans to pull out its underperforming operations in Europe in July last year. The company said that it plans to cancel new model launches and reduce its current line-up in the region. The announcement led to a mass selloff of dealerships in the region in preparation for Mitsubishi's exit.
In 2019, Mitsubishi sold just 120,000 vehicles in Europe. This equated to less than 1% of the region's total market share.
The deal that was reportedly reached earlier in the week is the first major agreement between the Alliance under Renault's new chief executive officer, Luca de Meo. Analysts said that the fulfillment of the agreement will be a significant test of the relationship between the three manufacturers.
The Ghosn scandal and the global pandemic significantly affected the businesses of the three companies, which have since announced major restructuring plans. Renault previously announced a plan to save as much as $3.65 billion by cutting factory capacity. Nissan also announced its own plan to save up to $2.85 billion through a major overhaul of its operations.