Mitsubishi’s revival in the US will be based on the launch of three electrified crossovers in five years, promises the company CEO.
The Japanese company announced plans in late July to end production at its US plant, saying the decision was prompted by low volumes rather than high labor costs or a stronger dollar, which makes importing cars more profitable. After closing its only assembly line in the country, Mitsubishi wants to focus its no-so-generous budget into a more compact range of models, admits CEO Osamu Masuko in an interview with Automotive News. According to him, it is likely to see a new generation of the Lancer sedan and no other electric version to replace subcompact i-MiEV. However, Mitsubishi has some plans to increase the awareness of the brand in the US. Thus, the automaker plans to bring into the market a new small coupe-styled crossover after the fall of 2017, to fit between the midsize Outlander and the compact Outlander Sport. Also, an Outlander facelift is set to come sometime after 2017 and the next-generation Outlander Sport will be introduced around 2019, Masuko said.
“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,” Masuko stated. “We are going to allocate more resources to the areas where we are strong in the US.” But to keep the interest high until the arrival of new models, the Outlander Sport it set to come with some changes, alongside with the Outlander PHEV, the plug-in hybrid version of the nameplate’s current generation, which is planned for the middle of next year. The other three coming crossovers will get electrified drivetrains as variants to the standard gasoline versions, Masuko said.
Via Automotive News