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 |  Mar 10 2010, 2:32 PM

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After Japanese Mitsubishi-tuner Ralliart announced early this morning that it would shut its doors for good, Mitsubishi wants to clarify that the closure will not affect Ralliart branded Mitsubishi models sold in the United States. According to PR boss Maurice Durand, Ralliart vehicles will continue to be produced and, “this doesn’t mean there won’t be any future Ralliart vehicles either.”

The reason that the closure won’t have much of an affect, is that the closure only relates to the Ralliart subsidiary in Japan, which produces high-performance parts for street and race cars. In other markets where Mitsubishi licenses the Ralliart name to different companies, only those companies that import official Ralliart Japan products will be affected. According to Durand, in most markets the Ralliart parts are actually re-branded parts from another tuner (like HKS).

The parts used on official Ralliart models sold in the U.S. are developed seperately and so will not be affected.

“While the demise is sad,” says Durand, “this is a part of the economic reality. There just isn’t much of a market for elite high-performance products, especially in Japan right now.”

 |  Mar 10 2010, 12:35 PM

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[*UPDATE*] Since the announcement below, we have talked with Mitsubishi USA PR boss Maurice Durand, who assured us that none of the changes will affect Ralliart products in the United States, or likely elsewhere in the world. Durand explained that the Ralliart subsidiary in Japan that makes high-performance and racing products will close its doors, but that that part of the company is separate from the rest. Mitsubishi licenses the Ralliart name to different companies in different markets and while those markets that rely on the Japanese Ralliart products will now need to find a new supplier, in many markets the Ralliart products were already supplied by other outside tuning companies.

In addition, Durand commented that Ralliart vehicles will continue to be produced and that, “this doesn’t mean there won’t be any future Ralliart vehicles either.”

While the news certainly is sad for hard-core JDM tuners, the decision was an economic one as Durand admits, “There just isn’t much of a market for elite high-performance products, especially in Japan right now.” [*UPDATE*]

Mitsubishi-tuner Ralliart has announced that as of April 1st it will close its doors, effectively ceasing operations. In a statement released on the Ralliart website, company President Masao Taguchi blamed the recent economic downturn.

“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.”

Ralliart’s shut down will mean that the tuner, so closely associated with Mitsubishi, and which currently works with Mitsubishi to produce several Ralliart models, will cases supporting its motorsports customers, stop development of new products and terminate communications of new products and news via its website. It is not clear if Mitsubishi will no longer offer Ralliart models or if the Japanese automaker intends to continue Ralliart products as part of a new internal part of the company.

Say it ain’t so.

Official release after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Mar 03 2010, 8:05 AM

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With Mitsubishi set to bring back the Colt to North America in the near future, we really hope a Ralliart model is also in the plans. While at the Geneva Auto Show we stumbled across such a car and just had to share it.

For starters, it just looks cool, with a big EVO-styled front end that really stands out against the pristine white paint. We even like the decals.

As a front-drive sub-compact, it looks to be plenty of fun thanks to a turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder that makes 178-hp. (That’s 180 ps in Europe, hence the Ralliart 180 badges). Other parts involved in making it a Ralliart trim include a stylishly-subtle aero kit, a rear roof spoiler, as well as a set of 16-inch wheels and 205/45/16 tires.

Mitsubishi’s initial plans in bringing the Colt back to the U.S. are to expand its lineup and increase the volume of its sales, helping to grow the company back to what it was just a few years ago. If that plan goes well (which it may not considering how competitive the sub-compact market has become recently with additions like the Fiesa and upcoming Mazda2) perhaps a Colt Ralliart could be offered.

GALLERY: Mitubishi Colt Ralliart

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