Mitsubishi Motors Is Gearing Up to Finally Get Its Act Together

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
mitsubishi motors is gearing up to finally get its act together

Poor Mitsubishi. Its strange history has ushered in memorable models, an important alliance with Chrysler, success on the World Rally stage, a partnership with Jackie Chan, an epic fuel economy scandal, and building debt that eventually turned it into the sad creature we know today. But there is nothing to say it has to stay mired in that ugly situation. It’s getting ready to crawl out of the dumpster and will be getting plenty of help along the way.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance, which now includes Mitsubishi Motors, announced a reformatting of its executive lineup on Thursday — adding new areas, such as quality and car servicing, where all three companies will work in tandem. Bent on efficiency savings, the Alliance said it will seek to extend its convergence in the areas of purchasing, engineering, manufacturing and supply chains next month (when Mitsubishi also gets its new CEO for North America). The ultimate goal here is to maximize profits that can then used for advanced research and development.

Where does this leave Mitsubishi? In a much better position than it once was. Despite initial concerns that Renault and Nissan would attempt to relegate the brand to Asia, where it’s strongest, the Alliance opted to improve the company’s U.S. dealership network and grow sales by 30 percent to 130,000 units per year.

That apparently does not mean stripping any of the brands of their identity, either. According to Reuters, Alliance chairman Carlos Ghosn said the key is to “turbo-charge the performance and growth of its member companies, while preserving the autonomy and distinct strategies of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors.”

“The CEO of each company is in charge of its own business, that is the bottom line. This is not about change of responsibility, it’s about acceleration of the synergies that are not possible without working together,” Ghosn added. “Everything we are doing here is about efficiency.”

Mitsubishi may already be on the road to recovery. It has seen gradually improving sales in North America for the last five years. The brand’s stock valuation has also recovered since collapsing in April of 2016, after news of its 25-year-long fuel economy scandal broke. Mitsubishi Motors may still be a shadow of its former self, but something is starting to materialize as things improve. That doesn’t mean the Lancer Evolution is poised for a return next year, nor does it suggest its a big change in its lackluster North American lineup is right around the corner.

However, more money will eventually make those items a possibility. The Alliance has already unveiled a 2022 mid-term strategy targeting increasing annual “synergies” of more than 10 billion euros ($12.2 billion). That’s up from 5 billion ($6.1 billion) in 2016, when Nissan initially acquired a controlling interest Mitsubishi.

[Image: Mitsubishi Motors]

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Mar 01, 2018

    Japanese companies die hard. They will help each other to survive.

    • See 3 previous
    • Threeer Threeer on Mar 02, 2018

      @highdesertcat As long as you don't buy a next-gen Focus...or Fusion...or Fiesta...or Ecosport... As for Mitsu, I want them to succeed. Really. My first car was a transplant (1978 Plymouth Arrow) that I still remember with great fondness. My parents owned (for a time) a Mitsu Lancer in Germany in the early 90s. And up until last year, I had a 2004 Lancer Sportback Ralliart that was one of the best cars I'd owned (just wish it had been offered in a manual trans). Here's hoping they pull it together, though the words "Renault" and "Alliance" in the same sentence do not bring back great memories!

  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Mar 03, 2018

    I was honestly surprised Mitsubishi still existed. There is only 1 dealer that I know of in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul metroplex). I'd assumed we'd be getting some French captive imports with the Renault connection, but I guess we'll find out. I'm honestly ambivalent about them since I've never owned one. I drove a diamond-star Eclipse one night because the owner got himself drunk and I wasn't about to ride home with him, and it didn't really leave much of an impression on me.

  • Analoggrotto By the time any of Hyundai's Japanese competitors were this size and age, they produced iconic vehicles which are now highly desirable and going for good money used. But Hyundai/Kia have nothing to this point that anyone will care about in the future. Those 20k over MSRP Tellurides? Worn out junk sitting at the used car lot, worn beyond their actual age. Hyundai/Kia has not had anything comparable to the significance of CVCC, 240Z, Supra, Celica, AE86, RX-(7), 2000GT, Skyline, GT-R, WRX, Evo, Preludio, CRX, Si, Land Cruiser, NSX etc. All of this in those years where Detroiters and Teutonic prejudiced elitists were openly bashing the Japanese with racist derogatory language. Tiger Woods running off the road in a Genesis didn't open up a moment, and the Genesis Sedan featuring in Inception didn't matter any more than the Lincoln MKS showing up for a moment in Dark Knight. Hyundai/Kia are too busy attempting to re-invent others' history for themselves. But hey, they have to start somewhere and the N74 is very cool looking. Hyundai/Kia's biggest fans are auto Journalists who for almost 2 decades have been hyping them up to deafening volumes contributing further distrust in any media.
  • Bd2 Other way around.Giorgetto Giugiaro penned the Pony Coupe during the early 1970s and later used its wedge shape as the basis for the M1 and then the DMC-12.The 3G Supra was just one of many Japanese coupes to adopt the wedge shape (actually was one of the later ones).The Mitsubishi Starion, Nissan 300ZX, etc.
  • Tassos I also want one of the idiots who support the ban to explain to me how it will work.Suppose sometime (2035 or later) you cannot buy a new ICE vehicle in the UK.Q1: Will this lead to a ICE fleet resembling that of CUBA, with 100 year old '56 Chevys eventually? (in that case, just calculate the horrible extra pollution due to keeping 100 year old cars on the road)Q2: Will people be able to buy PARTS for their old cars FOREVER?Q3: Will people be allowed to jump across the Channel and buy a nice ICE in France, Germany (who makes the best cars anyway), or any place else that still sells them, and then use it in the UK?
  • Tassos Bans are ridiculous and undemocratic and smell of Middle Ages and the Inquisition. Even 2035 is hardly any better than 2030.The ALMIGHTY CONSUMER should decide, not... CARB, preferably WITHOUT the Government messing with the playing field.And if the usual clueless idiots read this and offer the tired "But Government subsidizes the oil industry too", will they EVER learn that those MINISCULE (compared to the TRILLIONS of $ size of this industry) subsidies were designed to help the SMALL Oil producers defend themselves against the "Big Oil" multinationals. Ask ANY major Oil co CEO and he will gladly tell you that you can take those tiny subsidies and shove them.
  • Dusterdude The suppliers can ask for concessions, but I wouldn’t hold my breath . With the UAW they are ultimately bound to negotiate with them. However, with suppliers , they could always find another supplier ( which in some cases would be difficult, but not impossible)