Over in Europe car buyers looking for an efficient, full-size SUV have become quite taken with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, a vehicle that is topping sales charts in a number of countries. Yet we still can’t buy one here in America for at least another year, though when it does finally arrive, it won’t be alone, as a smaller Mitsubishi Outlander Sport PHEV is also in the works.
So says AutoGuide, which caught up with Mitsubishi executives at the New York Auto Show. Mitsu’s reveal of the “upgraded” Outlander (the conventional version) was kind of ho-hum, though it did show an increase in interior quality that Americans have come to expect from their SUVs. Before that though, a refreshed Mitsubishi Mirage will show up on dealer lots, and the little fuel-sipper have proven remarkably popular with economy car buyers.
Yet it isn’t cars that Mitsubishi is betting its future on, but rather trucks, SUVs, and of course plug-in cars. When the Outlander PHEV and Outlander Sport PHEV finally arrive in America, they will the market for plug-in family haulers still wide open. In Europe this has made the Outlander PHEV one of the best-selling plug-in cars on the continent, and there are rumors of a plug-in hybrid pickup as well. Old standbys though, like the Lancer Evolution and Galant, won’t be coming back to the Mitsu lineup anytime soon though. The world has just moved on, but that’s probably to Mitsubishi’s benefit.
A compact plug-in SUV seems to be just the thing the world needs right now, and if Mitsubishi can beat its competitors to market, it might be able to carve out a sizable niche for itself to help keep the comeback momentum going.