Mitsubishi’s CEO Osamu Masuko told Automotive News recently, “We are strong in SUVs and four wheel drives. And that is what we would like to focus on as core models in the U.S. market. We have changed direction. We are going to allocate more resources to the areas where we are strong in the U.S.” Sales in the US are up 25% over 2014, thanks largely to the company’s reputation for making rugged SUVs.
Concentrating on the company’s strengths makes perfectly good sense, but doesn’t explain why the company is 4 years late bringing its widely acclaimed Outlander PHEV to the US. The plug-in SUV enjoys strong sales in the UK and Europe, but Mitsubishi has fiddled and diddled for years, while it fussed over insignificant details like the shape of the grille or the design of the rear tail lights. It had the market for a plug-in SUV all to itself, but squandered its advantage to focus on silly things. But the wait if finally over, Masuko says. The award-winning Outlander PHEV will go on sale, in the US, in the middle of 2016- perhaps as early as May.
Building further on its reputation for building good four wheel drive vehicles, it will introduce an all new crossover in 2017 that is intended to fill the gap between the compact Outlander Sport and the mid-size Outlander. The new offering will feature coupe styling, as it is now all the rage to build SUVs that are as small as possible inside and out. That makes no sense, of course, but that’s what customers say they want.
Mitsubishi says it will introduce a redesigned Outlander in 2018 and a new Outlander Sport in 2019. All new crossover and the Outlander will offer customers a choice of conventional or plug-in hybrid powertrains. The new Outlander Sport will be all have an all electric option, the company says. The woeful i-MiEV electric sedan will continue on with no changes. It is presently selling at the dismal rate of only 10 cars a month.
Source: Automotive News.