Mitsubishi is stalling the much-needed redesigns of its Outlander SUV and Outlander Sport compact crossover as engineers explore ways of sharing components with Nissan.
This means that, until the Outlander Sport gets its proposed downsizing, Mitsubishi could have two vehicles sharing a segment and potential customers when the 2018 Eclipse Cross hits dealerships. Both Outlanders were expected to assume a new form to better distance themselves from the Eclipse Cross compact crossover and each other. While they don’t look much alike, the Cross’ dimensions are only an inch-and-a-half away from the Sport.
It may make good financial sense to appropriate Nissan parts and platforms, but Mitsubishi would be shooting itself in the foot by having two models in the same segment — even if it were only for a year or two. Considering how important crossovers and SUVs are for the North American market, there is little benefit in bringing in the flashy new Eclipse Cross just to rob sales from another model.
The next-generation Outlander was originally scheduled for launch in March of 2019, while the redesigned Outlander Sport was expected the following year. Those dates have both been stretched by an indeterminate amount of time. However, supplier sources speaking to Automotive News suggest a rollout of the larger SUV in 2020 and the compact Sport following a year later.
Meanwhile, the Eclipse Cross is due for U.S. dealerships in early 2018 and could potentially spend the next two years funneling money away from Mitsubishi’s best-selling model. When the company designed the edgy new Eclipse, it was with the intent that the Outlander Sport would morph into a smaller model to give it some space. Now, unless the Cross is also delayed, the two will be parked on dealer lots competing for attention.
[Image: Mitsubishi Motors]