A few weeks ago. Mitsubishi’s Swedish importer took an Outlander PHEV on a road trip designed to prove the factory’s mileage claims would stand up to real world driving. In the end, the Outlander actually beat the factory numbers, living up to Mitsu’s promise of delivering real-world MPG ratings. That’s an impressive accomplishment at at time when many manufacturers are having trouble making production cars that live up to the factory’s claims.
Even so, U.S. sales of Mitsubishi vehicles are in a slump, and the company has delayed launching the Outlander PHEV in America, despite strong European interest. To jump start its modest US sales, the company will shortly introduce a revised line up of passenger cars. But more importantly, the company’s Executive Vice President Don Swearingen and U.S. PR chief Alex Fedorak told AutoBlog that the American version of the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV due here in the fall of 2015 “will be completely different” from the hybrid SUV currently so overseas.
Customers have long complained that the materials Mitsubishi chooses for its interior feel cheap compared to the competition. We all want to save money, of course, but at the same time we don’t want to be reminded of it every time we climb behind the wheel. Fedorak says the interior of the Outlander PHEV will be upgraded significantly by the time the new model arrives to meet higher American standards. The new Outlander PHEV will also feature all new sheet metal, and although the company has not released any official photos yet, the Concept GC-PHEV making the rounds at world trade shows offers clues to the new “design language” Mitsubishi will apply to its updated Outlander, Montero and Outlander Sport. The company also plans to roll out a robust advertising campaign in support of its new models.
Will the Outlander PHEV be enough to re-invigorate Mitsubishi’s presence in the US market? Time will tell.