A little over a year after Mitsubishi Motors Europe B.V. (MME), and Pininfarina S.p.A. announced their agreement covering the design, development and production of a convertible version of Colt, both partners celebrate the start of production of the actual car, the 2006 Colt CZC.
A significant endeavor for both partners, the new Colt CZC will be assembled in Bairo, near Turin (Italy). The decision to enter this market was justified both by the success of Colt (72,305 units sold in CY2005) and by the remarkable growth of the B-segment coupé-cabriolets in Europe (from 106,000 units in 2002 to 150,000 in 2005, i.e.: + 41.5%).
From the Netherlands to Italy
Colt CZC is the result of a pan-European effort, as all components that are not built by Pininfarina will be shipped to Italy for final assembly.
Of particular importance, MMC´s NedCar plant in Born (The Netherlands) will not only supply body-in-white components, but also production engineering know-how.
This international teamwork will be as follows:
- NedCar will produce body-in-white elements stamped at its own Press Shop and will send them together with some small sub-assemblies (like the complete bonnet) to Italy. Most of these parts are shared with either the Colt 3-door or the Colt 5-door (rear floor for the latter). Some are also Colt 3-door elements suitably modified for Colt CZC (like door panels) or totally specific (like the A-pillars).
- Pininfarina will use other Colt family components from NedCar suppliers. Therefore, the engines will come from Kölleda (Germany) and MMC (Japan), the seats from Faurecia in Sittard (The Netherlands), the front bumper assembly from Peguform (Germany) and cockpit components from Johnsons Controls (The Netherlands). These components will be shipped directly to Italy, without involvement from NedCar.
- Rich of a vast experience with similar projects, the Italian coachbuilder will focus on producing the specific structural reinforcements for the coupe-cabriolet conversion as well as the other specific parts (rear bumper, rear lamps, trunk lid, etc,…) and the body-in-white assembly, painting the body and following trimming and final assembly with unique parts and the above-mentioned components.
- Lastly, OASys (Webasto) will assemble the retractable hard-top at an in-plant within the same Pininfarina factory, in Bairo, where the CZC is manufactured.
All in all, 65 % of the Colt CZC parts will be carried over from the Colt family, either 3-door or 5-door.
At this occasion, Tim Tozer said: " We are very honoured to work with Pininfarina on this project. Even though the original idea came from our own designers with the 2003 CZ2 Cabriolet concept, it only became reality through Pininfarina´s involvement."
He added: "Our faithful partner since 1997, Pininfarina brought its impeccable expertise in the fields of roof system engineering and production, as well as its prestigious signature to this third chapter of the Colt story in Europe."
Andrea Pininfarina - CEO of Pininfarina S.p.A - commented: "This project highlights the great confidence Pininfarina has in our long-standing partner, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation. It is also important to stress our complete involvement in all the development phases of this vehicle, from definition of the styling to start-up of production at our Bairo plant. In particular, we worked very effectively with Mitsubishi to incorporate the folding hard-top whilst retaining Colt’s attractive lines."
Mitsubishi Motors Europe sold 72,305 NedCar-built Colts in 2005, aiming at 80/85,000 units in 2006, the first year where all variants will be available in the market.Published 28 April 2006