Bad news for Mitsubishi rally geeks: The automaker announced it will shutter its Ralliart motorsports operations and permanently close the division on April 1, 2010.
The Japanese division is well known for its motorsport activities, primarily those pertaining to rally racing. It also is a major developer and producer of performance parts for vehicles like the famed Lancer Evolution.
A year after its establishment in 1984, Mitsubishi licensed the Ralliart name for use throughout various world markets. The remaining 11 affiliated licensed companies will continue to produce Ralliart-badged vehicles. From what our source at Mitsubishi says, the U.S. will continue to offer Ralliart-badged models, like the turbocharged Lancer Ralliart.
Mitsubishi says the closure of Ralliart is largely a result of the poor economic climate.
Here's the official release from Mitsubishi:
Partial Cease of Business Activities along with Ralliart Inc's Business Scale Down Ralliart Inc (President Masao Taguchi) has announced as follows.
Dear all of our customers ,
First of all, we much appreciate for your usual patronage to our company.
Our company have done the various activities relating motorsport with the support of many people since the establishment in April,1984 so far. However, 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.
Meanwhile, we wish you a continuous support to Ralliart family and entrants driving Mitsubishi cars who play an active part all over the world.
Items which would cease our business and operation along with our business scale down; 1. Support to motorsport customers (Support to the participation, Technical Support, and Awarding of Mitsubishi/Ralliart Driver of the Year)
2. New Planning, Development and Merchandize of Ralliart products (Except FIA VO parts)*1
3. Information of new products and dispatching motorsport information(at web):*2
*1 FIA VO parts development and those application work shall be done by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation as it is. *2 FIA Group-N information shall be open at the web site of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.
Date of the cease: 1st April, 2010"