QOTD: What Does Mitsubishi Need to Do?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

I've spent a decent chunk of my day getting to rainy Nashville so that tomorrow I can drive the next Mitsubishi Outlander. So, naturally, I am thinking about the brand and its struggles.

I don't need to recount the company's problems here. What I am wondering is what does the company need to do to really get back into the game? The last time I drove an Outlander, I found it improved but still not good enough to really steal customers from the competition. Even if it was, a good Outlander wouldn't be enough. So let me ask you -- if you were suddenly made boss of Mitsubishi, how would you "save" it for the American and Canadian markets? Please don't say you'd kill it, that's a copout.

Sound off below.

[Image: Mitsubishi]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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5 of 61 comments
  • 3SpeedAutomatic 3SpeedAutomatic on Dec 07, 2022

    As a recovery plan, become the GMC or RAM of Asian manufacturers.

    1) Focus on pickups (small and medium). Ram is making noises about the 3rd or 4th resurrection (I've lost count) of the Dakota small truck, so be among the 1st to capture the wave.

    2) CUVs that provide tough yeoman service (an early barebones small Chevy Suburban knockoff) or act gruff (aka Ford Bronco & Sport). Boxy is good!!

    3) Rock solid mini service vans (aka Ram Promaster) which Stellantis and Ford are stepping away from. The market is all yours. Many an appliance repair or cable company will come knocking on your door. Margins are tighter with commercial sales, but your van will be in the public eye on every country road or suburban intersection.

    4) To appease the EV crowd, let the mini vans (See #3 above) debut with a handful of electric vans given away to several municipalities. The technology can come from Nissan/Renault. Mutsi can be the true proving ground. Nurture the program to gain traction and bragging rights. Patience will pay off big benefits with the Eco crowd.

    5) Stay far, far away from the "life style" label....sooo over used. What Marketing will touch, Marketing will destroy. Tough and gruff are cool and a following will develop. If in doubt, look at Cargill clothing...exclusive to the blue collar crowd...now hip as ever.

    6) What ever you do, stay away from the Angry Cat front clip on your vehicles and give then a unique Mutsi identity. As an example, the front end of Ford Bronco & Sport are unique...no cat eye BS.

  • Gabe Gabe on Dec 07, 2022

    A new retro-styled Montero as their halo vehicle to compete against the Bronco, Wrangler and 4Runner. Boxy, round headlights like the 1st generation, two door and four door models, body on frame.

    A compact, urban truck, Mighty Max, to compete against the Maverick. Retro-styled like the early 90s Mighty Max.

    A new Outlander Sport as more of a wagon/crossover to compete against the Crosstrek and Kona. Needs to have more power (190+ HP) and a legit transmission, no CVT.

    A new Eclipse hybrid to compete against the upcoming redesigned Prius. Just match the Prius's specs and make it look great.

    Drop the Eclipse Cross, I am not sure why they wanted to resurrect the Pontiac Aztec. Keep the Mirage and keep it cheap, make the styling better and up the wheel size. The Outlander seems fine.

    I like the idea of some sort of commercial vehicle, something similar in size to the Promaster City but with AWD.

  • Varezhka Varezhka on Dec 08, 2022

    Given how long the Mitsubishi USA has been in red, that's a hard one. I mean, this company has been losing money in all regions *except* SE Asia and Oceania ever since they lost the commercial division to Daimler.

    I think the only reason we still have the brand is A) Mitsubishi conglomerate's pride won't allow it B) US still a source of large volume for the company, even if they lose money on each one and C) it cost too much money to pull out and no one wants to take responsibility.

    If I was the head of Mitsubishi's North American operation and retreat was not an option, I think my best bet would be to reduce overhead by replacing all the cars with rebadged Nissans built in Tennessee and Mexico.

    As much as I'd like to see the return of Triton, Pajero Sport (Montero Sport to you and me), and Delica I'm sure that's more nostalgia and grass is greener thing than anything else.

    • TheEndlessEnigma TheEndlessEnigma on Dec 08, 2022

      I'm fairly certain, based on Mitsu reporting, the footprint they have in the US is profitable now and has been since the early 2010's. Once they closed the plant in Normal fixed overhead costs decreased dramatically and their resulting sales volume generates positive cash flow.

  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Dec 08, 2022

    Rekindle the good natured rivalry with Subaru and ditch the ugly-stick.

    I recall the Evo/WRX rivalry being fun to watch and observe and confess that the Evo VIII was probably the last attractive Mitsubishi that I can recall.