[*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: