By on October 21, 2017

All-New Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Compact SUV - Image: Mitsubishi

Last year, Nissan answered Mitsubishi’s prayers by purchasing a majority stake in the struggling Japanese automaker. The company had started out strong in North America at the dawn of the 20th century, with U.S. sales topping 345,000 in 2002. Six years later, volume had fallen by nearly 85 percent.

Mitsubishi was a dead brand walking, at least on these shores.

Now adopted by a wealthy parent, Mitsubishi has access to Nissan’s technology and platforms, but don’t expect the two automakers to start joint production of new products anytime soon. Only two new models — one with a horrible name, the other a long-delayed niche vehicle — will appear in showrooms before the end of the decade.

Still, Mitsubishi is planning for a 30-percent bump in U.S. sales by early 2020. Product isn’t the sole player in the company’s new growth strategy.

As outlined in Mitsubishi’s Drive for Growth three-year plan, released this week, the company has big expectations for sales and revenue. It projects a 6-percent operating profit margin by the dawn of the 2020s, up from 0.3 percent last year. Annual capital expenditures should rise by 60 percent by fiscal year 2019, with R&D expenditures growing 50 percent.

According to Automotive News, antitrust concerns between the two automakers means both companies will keep their distance for the time being. Putting the brand of a more solid footing in the U.S. will be Mitsubishi’s responsibility.

While new product — 11 new or redesigned vehicles, to be exact — will appear during this time frame, only two unfamiliar nameplates will make the journey to America. The unfashionably late Outlander PHEV is already a hit in Europe, but the company’s North American operation only expects to sell 3,000 to 4,000 of the plug-in hybrid crossovers each year after it arrives for the 2018.

That leaves the 2018 Eclipse Cross, a retro-named take on the compact crossover, to serve as the largest new product draw. Jointly developed products won’t appear until the coming decade.

As Mitsubishi readies both vehicles, there’s plenty of work being done at the dealer level. “We will re-energize our dealership network,” the company’s chief operating officer, Trevor Mann, claims. “We are reviewing our incentive plans, both to attract new dealers and to encourage existing ones to achieve better sales.”

Earlier this month, Mitsubishi Motors North America executive vice president Don Swearingen said he’d be okay with more of his company’s vehicles heading to fleets. While not a huge profit generator, it would nonetheless boost the company’s volume.

Under the new plan, U.S. annual sales volume would rise to 130,000 vehicles within three years. Mitsubishi sales rose to a post-recession high of 96,267 vehicles in 2016 — an 81-percent climb since 2009. Over the first nine months of 2017, U.S. sales are 6.5 percent higher than last year.

[Image: Mitsubishi Motors]

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24 Comments on “Don’t Expect Any Rebadged Nissans or Co-developed Cars in Mitsubishi Showrooms Anytime Soon...”

  • avatar

    Nissan NA got more pressing problems like Trump NAFTA and 50% U.S. content.

    CR slammed Sentra/Versa quality from that Aquas MX plant.

    • 0 avatar

      CR opinions are becoming irrelevant. They also slammed Honda for trying to make the Civic cheap and cheerful again.

      They are moonbat elitists.

      • 0 avatar

        While I have to agree with your opinion about CR opinions, the CR opinion about the quality of Nissans is correct in this case. I happened to purchase one of the Mexican-made Nissans, and after a couple of major component replacements within the first few months of ownership, I hired a lawyer. Now I drive a Mexican-made Ford.

    • 0 avatar

      A coworker had a strut and wheel bearing fail on his (at the time) less than 2 year old Sentra with I think about 20k miles on it. He lives in the nice part of town with good roads, too. All covered under warranty without questions asked, but man that leaves a bit of a bad taste in ones’ mouth.

      • 0 avatar

        Junk. On the multiple occasions when my brand new Nissan was having its entire drivetrain replaced, I got to sample the range of other brand new pieces of crap they had for loaner cars. Versa, Sentra and Altima; each of them with awfully tuned CVTs. The drivetrains are definitely awful, but everything else about them pretty much sucks, too. The Altima was the least awful simply because it was the only one that had enough power to get out of its own way. I don’t understand why people buy these things. I don’t understand why I bought one.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Steph wrote ” The company had started out strong in North America at the dawn of the 20th century, with U.S. sales topping 345,000 in 2002. Six years later, volume had fallen by nearly 85 percent”.
    Not to be pedantic, but did you mean the dawn of the 21st century? I’m guessing that the entire auto market in 1900 was nowhere near 345,000 new fangled horseless carriages.

    • 0 avatar

      @ I’m guessing that the entire auto market in 1900 was nowhere near 345,000 new-fangled horseless carriages:

      Don’t know why in tarnation folks see anything good in those fool things. How far can you go before you have to find benzene at some pharmacy? With a good horse, all you’ve got to do is stop at the side of the road and let it graze. Some of those fools complaining about a little manure in the streets. What do they make boots for?

      BTW, love the new comment system. I bet this might even last into the 21st century.

    • 0 avatar

      Googled it real quick. Tsukumo Shokai was spun out of another company in 1870, and in 1873 changed its name to Mitsubishi Shokai. They started making cars in 1917.

      At the dawn of the 20th century they were building ships, not cars.

  • avatar

    Why on earth would anti-trust regulators in Japan or the US care about Nissan and Mitsubishi collaborating? I went over and read that Automotive News article, and checked GCBC’s market share, and I’m drawing a total blank. Mitsu’s volume is so low and its brand so dead that a direct merger almost certainly wouldn’t raise an eyebrow on this side of the Pacific.

    Unless there’s something I’m missing?

  • avatar

    What antitrust laws? VW owns half of autobrands existing on the Earth and GM did same in US and no one complains. Mitsubishi will compete with Plymouth though. No wait a minute, Plymouth?

  • avatar

    The real story here is how the DLO has chopped triangles at the front AND at the rear!

  • avatar

    Triton is the Mitsubishi I’d be interested in owning. If Triton is a bit smaller than other midsize trucks then all the better.
    Shogun is another vehicle I feel would be good for Mitsubishi in North America.
    I don’t see much value badge engineering Nissan vehicles, on the Renault side I’d like to see Megane and Clio offered at Mitsubishi with different model names of course

    • 0 avatar

      All of these are hilariously unlikely except or maybe the Triton if the new Ranger is successful, but I feel like a rebadged Navara is more likely. The Triton will probably die after this generation.

      The Shogun has barely changed since the Montero was last sold here.

      What SHOULD happen is a Mitsubishi-badged Dacia Duster coming in from the bottom of the CUV market. The smaller equivalent to a Journey (though I guess the RVR is pretty much that already)

      • 0 avatar

        “The Shogun has barely changed since the Montero was last sold here.”

        That’s what makes it great IMO. Huge windows. Classic, unapologetic SUV styling. I was looking for a clean used Montero Limited on and off for years, never did find that one owner rust free unicorn. I’m actually really excited for a used Patrol based Armada now, used prices are looking quite fetching. It’s no Land Cruiser in terms of capability (and probably durability), but it’s fantastic bang for the buck IMO.

  • avatar
    Prove Your Humanity 2+9=?

    Nissan can open Datsun-Renault-Mitsubishi dealerships. When the curious come in, hit ’em with can’t-pass-’em-up financing on unique vehicles with Hyundaish warrantees. Learn to avoid the mistakes that Toyota made with Scion.
    Maybe, against the odds, they can somehow build brand loyalty like Subaru has.

  • avatar

    Why do you lump Canada in with the US, in referring to Mitsubishi’s sales in “North America”? Last year was one of the their best ever in Canada, and their sales have been relatively steady or increasing for a number of years here?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    In SE Asia and in the Middle East Nissan and Mitsubishi have been platform sharing for a few years or so now.

    I don’t see a problem with this.

    In Thailand the D40 Navara and the Mitsubishi Triton have been sharing productions facilities and even production lines.

    The Nissan-Mitsubishi marriage will be successful.

    Sooner or later we’ll have Mitsubishi’s built on Reno/Nissan platforms. It’s inevitable.

  • avatar

    There is no USP for Mitsubishi. Why are they bothering to make cars as they do that bring anything. They don’t bring great design, or technology, or reliability.

  • avatar

    Mitsubishi USP is offering proven time capsule styling and technology to buyers resistant to change. If you love your worn out 10 to 20 year old vehicle and want to replace it with a brand new car with same styling, features and mechanics then Mitsubishi is for you!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    FWIW, Mitsubishi is advertising very heavily on the radio in the Pittsburgh area, from at least two different dealers.

    One of them is a standalone Mitsubishi dealer. Imagine being that for a minute.

  • avatar

    Aw, I was hoping for a Sentra-based Galant, with the rough sounding Mitsubishi 2.4 four. The 1.8 Nissan four is a dog.

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