By on March 20, 2017


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]

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18 Comments on “Mitsubishi Risks Segment Overlap by Delaying Important Outlander Redesigns...”

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    What an excellent press photo! The car weighs so little that there’s actually light underneath the right front tire!

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe this was a photo of a car in the middle of a rollover test? :-)

      On another note, I remain mystified why Nissan doesn’t just shut down the Mitsubishi brand in this country. I’m sure there are plenty of reasons Nissan bought the company, and I’m fairly positive zero of those reasons included the US dealer network or marketshare. (Around here, Mitsubishi dealerships usually occupy the oldest and most-decrepit buildings in a dealer chain, little nicer than a BHPH lot. One local Mitsu dealership has a “Service Department” that is three bays of a nearby independent garage.)

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        This was my QOTD a while ago – “Does Mitsubishi need to Exist?”

        I think it can go, and be absorbed into Nissan via a promotional crossover period.

        • 0 avatar

          Which begs the question of why Nissan wanted to be involved with them in the first place, I suppose.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            I think Mitsu has holds in other markets where Nissan is not as strong, and that’s the intent. Maybe that’s why they’re keeping Mitsu models around, to use in those markets where they have a share and reputation.

      • 0 avatar

        You pose a good question.
        Not sure what their existing dealer contracts look like.
        Might take a Mitsu USA bankruptcy to exit those quickly and without a lot of cash payoffs.

  • avatar

    The only thing the Outlander Sport has going for it is price. The local Mitsubishi dealer here has fairly well equipped ones for 17k brand new.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      Yes – $17,700 with a manual transmission (the CVT would make this thing miserable to drive). Not a bad do-it-all city vehicle for that money, if

      a) you keep it until it’s paid for – I imagine resale value is abysmal.

      b) the Mitsu dealer stays in business longer than the five-year warranty lasts.

      • 0 avatar

        For sure.

        I’d rock this, if (like you said), I planned to keep it until it was paid off.

      • 0 avatar

        Well, with the Nissan buy, if the brand were to be shut down, you’d probably theoretically be able to get service at your local Nissan dealer for the remainder of the warranty. (And given that the brand still does okay outside the US, parts availability should be not-abysmal.)

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    It would be wiser for Mitsubishi to hatch the best possible vehicle rather than rush a new product.

  • avatar

    A rare misstep by Mitsubishi NA.

  • avatar

    If two vehicles that look different but are in the same segment, they don’t necessarily cannibalize each other.

    Ford put out mid-size Fords and Mercurys that were the same underneath but had enough sheet metal differences to be considered different cars. Some buyers actually ascribes qualities to the Mercury version that didn’t exist.

    GM put out vehicles in the same segment that DID look like each other, and they sold them on the basis of nameplate alone.

    It seems different packages and the magic of salesmanship can enhance sales if done right.

  • avatar

    In Europe this will mean a big lost opportunity. Outlander PHEV was a best seller in UK, Netherlands and other places, ranking first among plug-ins (even ahead of Zoe and Leaf). I can’t believe Nissan wants to spoil all this momentum. Any reasonable person would put in bigger batteries, stronger motors and more efficient engine, to keep it up-to-date and sell it to the US. I really can’t understand.

  • avatar

    Mitsubishi is profitable in the US and Canada.
    Mitsubishi reliability is better than Mazda, Subaru, Nissan, etc.
    10 year warranty.

    I say, why not Mitsubishi? They offer vehicles that are safe and reliable and great value (sales price, not MSRP).

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