Mitsubishi and PSA Peugeot Citroën have signed an agreement which may give the struggling Japanese manufacturer a new lease on life – and provide the French combine with a foot-up to the SUV market.

Mitsubishi and PSA Peugeot Citroën have signed an agreement which may give the struggling Japanese manufacturer a new lease on life – and provide the French combine with a foot-up to the SUV market.

The deal will provide some relief to the struggling Japanese manufacturer, which will provide a 4X4 platform and at the same time gain some investment needed to produce new models. The French manufacturer will provide the diesel engines for the SUVs, and in turn the deal will allow PSA to venture into a sector in which it has limited experience.

According to the agreement, annual production of “30 000 units for PSA Peugeot Citroën’s needs, based on a Mitsubishi platform currently under development” is planned to commence in Japan in 2006. Initial feedback suggests that the vehicles will be a 4X4 station wagon crossover rather than a regular off-roader.

Mitsubishi will launch the first of these vehicles in Japan at the end of this year and in the US, Europe and remaining markets by the end of 2007, where it will replace the current Outlander. Peugeot and Citroën’s 4X4s will be launched in 2007, and some analysts have predicted this to be the perfect route for the sister-companies’ reintroduction into the US market.

However, both the Japanese and French manufacturers have stressed that their partnership is solely product related with no possibility of an alliance between the two parties. The three versions will be branded separately and have different designs, much like the PSA and Toyota small car venture that will officially be launched at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

Original article from Car