Mitsubishi: Will Not Quit US; Plans To Quadruple Sales
Rumors of Mitsubishi’s demise in America are greatly exaggerated. That was the essence of Mitsubishi Motors President Osamo Masuko, in an article at AutomotiveNews [sub]. “We have never thought about withdrawing from the U.S. market, and we will not do so.” And the sales target is 200k vehicles, four times of current levels. And what is the target date for that rebound? Not stated.
What was stated by Masuko is that the current crop of duds in the lineup will have to be replaced: “I cannot speak about it too concretely, but from what we know at the moment, it is not possible to continue with the models that we have had,”. Quadrupling sales without a specific plan for new models? Sounds even more ambitious than VW’s American re-conquest.
Mitsubishi was the posterboy of the sub-prime auto financing debacle, offering zero and low-interest loans to anyone with a pulse during the early naughts. And it all came to naught. Mitsubishi sold 354k cars in 2002; they’re currently at 36k so far this year. That lead to plenty of analysts speculating whether Mitsubishi was going to pack up and follow Isuzu with a one-way ticket home.
People have been asking me for the past six years whether Mitsubishi’s going to withdraw from the market,” Masuko said in a Tuesday interview. “But it never enters my mind.”What is needed is more incentive discipline, according to the boss. They dropped a bit in the past quarter, but they’re still above $3,000 per unit.Interestingly, or perhaps tellingly, the US constitutes only 9% of Mitsu’s global sales. The indications are that the product mix will become smaller and more global. The EV i-MieV, and a gas-hybrid version, are certainly part of the equation. What else? Here’s a chance to arm-chair CEO, and remake Mitsubishi’s line-up.
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Mitsu has had a distinct lack of leadership for quite some time. There's no consistant message, either through marketing or worse, through product. Talk to anyone in NA about MMC and, outside of gamers, the common answer is "meh". What has to happen is a merger, probably of the weak sisters like Suzuki but maybe with someone like Chryco if Sergio can see his way past FIAT. Mitsu's great strength has been their willingness to share, partnering up whenever it's been practical. I'm waiting for the day of turnkey manufacturing in NA. It's going to happen sooner or later. "Need product? We can supply, give us the nameplate and we'll make the vehicle."
The only car in the Mitsubishi I really like is the Lancer Evo to be honest.