Mitsubishi in America: Slow Fade-out Ahead?

mitsubishi in america slow fade out ahead

Mitsubishi watched as its U.S. and Canadian volumes rose steadily over the past several years — growth hampered by a limited product lineup and so-so vehicle quality. Still, it was growth, and Mitsu made sure to celebrate each year-over-year sales increase.

Well, that was then, and this is now. As a member of an alliance dominated by Renault and Nissan and hit hard, like many others, by the coronavirus pandemic, the future holds a different strategy for the Japanese automaker. For the U.S., it also seems to hold fewer Mitsubishis.

Previously, Mitsu targeted North America and China for its future growth. Now, with its alliance partners insisting on a concerted, collective effort in which each member capitalizes on individual strengths in a limited number of markets, Mitsu now plans to abandon its previous growth plan.

In a shareholders meeting last week (reported on by Automotive News), the automaker’s CEO, Takao Kato, announced a turn away from North America and China. The company’s focus will now be on Southeast Asia and Pacific nations.

“Even though we increased sales volume in the megamarkets, we have not yet achieved the level of profit we expected. We aim to increase sales in the regions where we can offer our core products. We will gradually reduce our commitment to megamarkets,” Kato said, referring, in part, to the U.S.

Despite the steadily rising sales, the only new product Mitsu foisted on America in recent years was the Eclipse Cross, a compact crossover that steps pretty heavily on the equally compact Outlander Sport’s toes. The plan, going back a few years, was to drive the range-topping Outlander up in size while downsizing the Outlander Sport. There was tentative talk of a pickup truck, or of Mitsubishi taking the lead in developing a truck to be used by all alliance members.

It isn’t known just how Mitsubishi’s new global strategy will impact its North American lineup going forward; certainly, it doesn’t bode well for exciting new product or an expanded lineup. Best hold on to those memories of the Eclipse and Diamante.

Last month, the automaker announced it would cut fixed costs by 20 percent over the next two years. During the shareholder’s meeting, Kato said executives at his company will see a salary cut and the elimination of performance-based bonuses, amounting to a 45 percent decrease in take-home pay.

[Image: Mitsubishi]

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  • Akear Akear on Jun 23, 2020

    Mitsubishi should try to avoid the GM cut and run approach. It almost always results in loss market share and a tarnished reputation.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Jun 23, 2020

    Mitsubishi needs a small cheap truck.

  • Snickel Fritz I just bought a '97 JX 4WD 4AT, and though it's not quite roadworthy yet I am already in awe of it's simplicity and apparent ruggedness. What I am equally in awe of, is the scarcity of not only parts but correct information regarding anything on this platform. I'm going to do my best to get this little donkey back on it's feet, but I wouldn't suggest this as a project vehicle for anyone who doesn't already have several... and a big impressive shop with a full suite of fabrication/machining/welding equipment, and friends with complimentary skillsets, and extra money, and... you get the idea. If you don't, I urge you to read up on the options for replacing anything on these rigs. I didn't read enough before buying, and I have zero of the above suggested prerequisites... so I'm an idiot, don't listen to me. Go buy all of 'em!
  • Bryan Raab Davis I actually did use the P of D trope, but it was only gentle chiding, for I love old British cars of every sort.
  • ScarecrowRepair The 1907 Panic had several causes of increased demand for money:[list][*]The semi-annual shift of money between farms and cities (to buy for planting and selling harvests)[/*][*]Britain and Germany borrowing for their naval arms race[/*][*]San Francisco reconstruction borrowing after the 1906 earthquake and fire[/*][/list]Two things made it worse:[list][*]Idiotic bans on branch banking, which prevented urban, rural, and other state branches from shifting funds to match demands. This same problem made the Great Depression far worse. Canada, which allowed branch banking, had no bank failures; the US had 9000 failures.[/*][*]Idiotic reserve requirements left over from the Civil War which prevented banks from loaning money; they eventually started honoring IOUs illegally and started the recovery.[/*][/list]Been a while since I read up on it, so I may have some of the details wrong. But it was an amazing clusterfart which could have been avoided or at least tamed sooner if states and the feds hadn't been so ham handed.
  • FreedMike Maybe this explains all the “Idiots wrecking exotic cars” YouTube videos.
  • FreedMike Good article! And I salute the author for not using the classic “Lucas - prince of darkness” trope, well earned as it may be. We all know the rap on BL cars, but on the flip side, they’re apparently pretty easy to work on (at least that’s the impression I’ve picked up). On the other hand, check the panel fits on the driver’s and passenger’s doors. Clearly, BL wasn’t much concerned with things like structural integrity when it chopped the roof off a car designed as a coupe.