By on October 3, 2012

Mitsubishi, pretty much given up for dead in the U.S. and Europe, thrives in an easily overlooked part of the world: South-East Asia. Mitsubishi has three assembly plants in Thailand, and will spend around $150 million to increase output.

January through August, Mitsubishi sold only 41,316 units in the U.S. and 48,166 units in Europe. At home in Japan, Mitsubishi sold 97,412 units in the first eight months. Meanwhile, pretty much under the RADAR screen, Mitsubishi’s cars are selling like hotcakes in the up and coming markets of South-East Asia.

Its three plants in Thailand will have a combined output of some 500,000 cars when the expansion is finished, the Bangkok Post writes.

Sales of the recently introduced Mirage are especially promising. In the Thai market alone, some 14,000 Mirages were sold from April-August. Orders for 36,000 units are on the books, and customers wait four months for delivery.

According to Nobuyuki Murahashi, president of Mitsubishi Motors (Thailand), 13,000 Mirage are built per month in Thailand- 4,000 for the domestic market and 9,000 for export, mainly to Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines and Brunei.

Unveiled at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, the sixth generation Mirage is a low cost, high MPG car. Fitted with a 1 liter 3 cylinder engine, it achieves 27.2 km / L in the JC08 cycle and costs around 1 million yen ($12,700).

Thailand is Mitsubishi’s main production hub outside of Japan, and many cars are exported to Japan. 2011, Mitsubishi built 603,594 units worldwide.

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22 Comments on “Reports Of Mitsubishi’s Demise …...”


  • avatar
    Easton

    Won’t be surprised if we get the official word within the next few years of the end of Mitsubishi in North America. Uncompetitive products, little to no marketing, and no new product in the pipeline are all sure signs of an imminent demise. Might as well take Suzuki with them.

    • 0 avatar
      Marko

      I agree. I bet most people are barely aware that Mitsu is still even selling cars here. Dumping nine-year-old Galants, which were outdated and outclassed from the start, into rental fleets certainly doesn’t help their reputation.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      I disagree. As long as Mitsubishi can afford to keep a toe in the American pool, they’ll keep it there. If they were going to leave, they would have done so years ago.

      Also, a new Outlander is in the pipeline, along with a possible plug-in version.

      • 0 avatar
        texan01

        a company I used to work for, had Mitsubishi North America as a client. Rumor had it then that as long as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries had the money, MMNA would stay in the US, for the exact reason you specified. And that was 6 years ago I had that conversation.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      +1. Suzuki owns the Indian market, but can’t give cars away in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      CompWizrd

      wouldn’t be surprised to see them out of Canada at least.. Looked at an Evo MR out of boredom since there’s some sort of discount on them going on right now.

      For the $60,339.74 w/tax they want, I’m sure I have a lot of other options.

      Even the GSR is 50k…

    • 0 avatar
      tatracitroensaab

      I’m actually really digging the MiEV. I know it’s crap, but it’s super cab forward and rear engined, and I just cant help myself. I also appreciate that it’s the awkward electric car that nobody mentions… the MiEV seems to be in better company with Xebra and the failed cool nerdy electric cars of old

      • 0 avatar
        philadlj

        So do I, but the “i” makes more sense as a relatively cheap (half the price of the MIEV), gas-powered kei car. A close successor to the VW Type 1. Frankly, they would have sold more had they given Americans the choice. I for one (no pun intended) would have probably bought the gas version.

      • 0 avatar
        ranwhenparked

        @philadlj

        That makes two of us. As a cheap, gas powered, rear engine kei car with space for four adults, the i is actually an interesting car. As an electric, pass.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Nobody seems to be including the Calibers, Compasses, and Patriots. It seems that they’re doing OK as a supplier of parts and engineering’s services to Chrysler.

  • avatar
    BigMeats

    “Mitsubishi’s cars are selling like hotcakes in the up and coming markets of South-East Asia.”

    Hit ‘em where they ain’t. Nice niche they’ve got, but Nissan is apparently breathing down their necks with the revival of Datsun.
    People my age don’t easily acclimatize to the fact that America is now just one of several important markets.

  • avatar
    L'avventura

    Maybe Mitsubishi should re-think how they make and sell cars around the world.

    It might be smart to become a bargain brand. Sell Thai-made Mirages, Lancers, & Grandis and Philippine-made Outlanders in the Japan, US and Europe.

    Sell em’ cheap. Forget Japanese production. Occupy where Hyundai/Kia used to occupy. Utilize one of the few strengths that Mitsubishi has; cheap South Asian Production.

    • 0 avatar
      BigMeats

      Strongly agree. The children of what used to be the middle class in America will buy all Mitsu can make. Status, performance, features… all those are luxuries now. The majors are all barking up the wrong tree by trying to out-gizmo each other. Young people already have all the electronics they need in their pockets or backpacks. What they don’t have is new, reliable transportation at low prices.

      • 0 avatar
        MrWhopee

        What would make the most sense for the US is their Pajero Sport, another Thai product which is a diesel body on frame SUV made from the chassis of Triton pickups. Sell them for less than the luxed-up competition, and it might just be a hit, especially in rural areas. And sell the Triton pickup while they’re at it too.

      • 0 avatar
        L'avventura

        The Thai-made Triton would face the 25% Chicken-tax as its a light truck. The Triton Megacab is around $18k (560k Baht) in Thailand. Meaning that there isn’t much room to cover the 25% Chicken tax.

        For the US, Mitsubishi will be limited to vehicles that they can legally classify as “passenger vehicles”. Ford was able to pass the Transit Connect as a passenger vehicle rather than a light truck, but that won’t happen with the Triton.

        Mitubishi could move all light-truck US production to Normal Illinois, which seems to be unsure of its future, and move passenger vehicle production to their South East Asian factories.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    That’s too bad. I like the Outlander Sport. I like the old Montero and the old Montero Sport too. They were tough and capable off-roaders.

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    That’s a shame. Outlander is awesome.

  • avatar
    niky

    Mitsubishi is really doing well out here. The Mirage just launched and is priced below the Korean micro-cars, while being a size up on the Spark. (Counting the Spark as a Korean micro-car, because it is).

    The Lancer sells decently if not spectacularly, the Outlander Sport is a competitive product, and the Montero Sport / Triton compete very well against the Colorado / Trailblazer, the Hilux and the Ford Ranger.

    A lot of people pooh-pooh Mitsubishi here based on flagging US sales… but that means absolutely nothing to its SEA operations. Like Suzuki, Mitsubishi’s fortunes elsewhere are good enough to keep it viable as a brand.

  • avatar
    roar1

    Mitsubishi just invested huge money in their plant in Normal Ill, they are not leaving the country, they are not leaving the country!! You will be seeing mutiple new products in the U.S. over the next 24 months. Building product in the U.S. for this market and for the world. Brings jobs to the U.S. and pricing power to the market.


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