Mitsubishi Plans to Boost Sales With Blown Engines
Mitsubishi has a plan to gain market share in the U.S. that’s right out of the ’80s.
Dealers were told during last weekend’s National Automobile Dealers Association conference that Mitsubishi will introduce turbocharged engines to model line, according to Automotive News.
The forced-induction renaissance will begin with a 1.5-liter mill powering the automaker’s planned midsize crossover, expected in 2018, which will slot between an enlarged Outlander and the Outlander Sport.
Executives told dealers that a turbocharged engine is being considered for the next-generation Outlander, and a 1.1-liter turbo might make it into the diminutive Mirage and Mirage G4 sedan. Those additions wouldn’t happen until 2019.
The possibility of a blown engine in the Mirage would no doubt be welcomed by existing owners, who currently have just 74 pounds-feet of torque on tap from the model’s 1.2-liter naturally aspirated engine.
Don Swearingen, executive vice president of Mitsubishi Motors North America, told dealers the engines are needed to keep up with fuel economy requirements, especially in the Outlander’s case.
“Everybody in the industry is going to be going even further in this direction,” he said.
Mitsubishi built its brand recognition around turbos in the 1980s and ’90s, cranking out blown models like it was going out of style.
The automaker’s dismal post-recession sales had the brand on a death watch in the U.S., but last year’s numbers — the best since 2008 — show a clear, albeit modest, upward sales trend. Mitsubishi is helping pull its U.S. operation back from the brink with a planned ad budget boost this year.
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