After 13 model years as a mid-sized sedan in North America, Mitsubishi discontinued the Galant after the 2012 model year. The Galant -- initially sold as a compact -- had been built in Normal, Ill., since 1994, but never seriously challenged the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord or Nissan Altima.
Editor's note: The photo caption in earlier versions of this story misidentified the car. Also, previous versions did not initially refer to the full Renault-Nissan Alliance as the partner.
SAN FRANCISCO -- A plan for the Renault-Nissan Alliance to supply Mitsubishi dealers with a midsize sedan has stalled, according to a senior U.S. Mitsubishi executive.
The high-level joint venture between the alliance and Mitsubishi Motors was announced in late 2013, and has been a bright hope for Mitsubishi's U.S. dealers who are hungry for new product.
But Mitsubishi informed dealers Sunday morning at their NADA franchise make meeting that the plan has reached an unspecified impasse.
“I told them that the plan has stalled,” says Don Swearingen, executive vice president of Mitsubishi Motors North America. “And I said that’s really all I can tell you at this time.”
Swearingen declined to discuss the impasse further, or even clarify whether the project snag is temporary or fatal.
“All options are still open,” he told Automotive News after the dealer meeting.
The deal -- announced in Nov. 2013 -- called for a broad exchange of products and technologies between Mitsubishi and the Renault-Nissan alliance. Several of the deal’s pieces concerned initiatives outside the United States -- such as the sharing of a very small Japan-only “kei” car.
But for hungry Mitsubishi dealers in America, the deal’s promise for a new Mitsubishi-brand D-segment sedan from Nissan or Renault beamed from the announcement like glowing ink. It is not clear which sedan would be picked.
Efforts to reach Nissan for comment about the project’s status were unsuccessful.
It's unclear whether the D-segment piece of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi venture is only in trouble, or whether the entire proposed partnership is facing difficulties.
It is one of the only pieces of potentially bad news currently facing the Mitsubishi franchise.
Dealers will begin receiving a wave of fresh products this year, starting with a redesigned Outlander in July. Other new and freshened Mitsubishi products include a redesigned Outlander Sport and 2016 Lancer at the end of the year, a new Mirage next spring, along with a Mirage sedan and plug-in hybrid Outlander in the second quarter of 2016.
Mitsubishi’s U.S. sales rose 25 percent in 2014 to 77,643 cars and trucks. The brand has been absent from the midsize sedan segment -- one of the industry's largest but one that has slowed in recent years -- since the Galant was dropped.
In December, Nissan’s Altima outsold the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord to become the best-selling car in the United States for the month, with sales of 32,331.