A longtime presence at the top of Mitsubishi Motors departed his post Friday morning, marking the end of an era for the embattled Japanese automaker. Company Chairman Osamu Masuko, 71, resigned effective immediately today, following a six-year tenure at the top of a company he joined in 1972.
Masuko, who rose to become president of the company in 2005 and CEO in 2014, cited health reasons for his sudden departure.
Living in Europe and eager for the next generation of Mitsubishi products? You might end up waiting forever.
As part of a crash cost-cutting exercise designed to stabilize the storm-rocked company, the Japanese automaker has decided to reduce investment in under-performing markets while chopping fixed costs by one-fifth over the next two years.
In Europe, the brand could soon become a ghost. Mitsubishi has hit the stop button on any new product headed in that direction.
Based on Mitsubishi’s bleak assessment of its own future, you might have thought it would be the automaker winning this week’s award for saddest economic forecast. But Nissan refused to be outdone. Having already warned the world that 2020 would prove harrowing even before anyone heard the term “COVID-19,” the brand now predicts an operating loss of 470 billion yen ($4.5 billion USD).
Nissan likewise estimates total revenue declining by one-fifth through year’s end to 7.8 trillion yen ($74.1 billion) as its worldwide vehicle sales continue a longstanding retreat.
While it’s difficult to know what to peg these losses on, there are a few obvious suspects. Both automakers sacrificed their identities as automakers in order to spend years trying to expand globally, with a particular focus on developing countries and bland models assumed to have mainstream appeal. Nissan even re-launched the Datsun name as an affordable alternative in places like India, but it wasn’t the sales success the company envisioned.
Strapped for cash, Mitsubishi has placed another legend on the chopping block. While the Pajero is famous globally for its stellar performance at the Dakar Rally, giving Mitsubishi more wins at the event than any other brand in history, you probably knew it as the Montero (or Dodge Raider if you’re old enough).
Sadly, you won’t be knowing it as anything but a memory soon — even if you live somewhere with a source of fresh examples. Having forecast another year of losses, Mitsubishi decided it need to continue tightening its belt. The Pajero will be taken out of production while the brand focuses on business in Asia.
No, there’s no new Mitsubishi model on the way — just “richer” versions of what we already have. That’s a term the automaker applied to the refreshed 2021 Mirage, by the way.
In announcing across-the-board changes to its North American lineup Wednesday, Mitsubishi seemed to suggest that a brand pull-out in this region won’t occur overnight, if ever. Or maybe this is just the brand’s last consumer salvo.
Mitsubishi burned a lot of what little street cred it had left by taking the name of a once-beloved affordable sports coupe and plunking it onto yet another crossover.
The good news, if there is any, is that the crossover that now bears the nameplate is more than a little quirky.
The bad news – it’s not an affordable, fun-to-drive sports coupe.
Not to mention that the brand may soon be history, at least on these shores.
Is Mitsubishi about to try on Fiat’s shoes? After the Japanese automaker’s CEO presented a new business plan that aligns with the goals of its alliance bunk mates late last week, it’s starting to look that way.
The Mirage maker, suddenly eager to save cash and firm up its foundation, plans to pull back in the North American market, preferring instead to focus on Southeast Asia and other overseas environs. It’s not that the brand wasn’t growing its sales in the U.S. and Canada; it was. Its dealer network was steadily adding stores, too, and 2019 was the brand’s best sales year since 2007.
What we ask you today is: should “pulling back” turn into pulling out?
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.
You may have spotted a crop of recent headlines and briefly thought that Mitsubishi has designs on returning to the sports car market.
Sorry to burst that particular bubble.
However, if, like me, you spent at least a portion of the 1990s daydreaming about the 3000GT, a report from Motor1 suggests that you might have reason to dream. Well, only if the automaker listens to outsiders who have talent and enthusiasm but not an employee ID.
Nissan and Renault opted against a full merger on Wednesday, but neither side seemed to feel now was the time to disband the alliance and see how they might fare as a solo act. Every member of the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance took time to address financial concerns last year, encouraging further product integration as a cost-mitigation strategy. Despite Nissan shareholders and staff clearly losing interest in the French-led confederation, the brand seems to understand that leaning upon its allies might be the only way to get through a period of increasing economic uncertainty.
Mitsubishi slashed its 2020 financial forecasts ahead of the coronavirus pandemic by over $500 million while the other two issued numerous profit warnings in the latter half of 2019. Now the world is exiting lockdowns and assessing the economic damage they caused. Obviously, this is not the time to be burning bridges, even if some alliance partners aren’t enthralled with what’s probably waiting on the other side.
Mitsubishi Motors’ membership in the great Renault-Nissan alliance won’t protect it from economic realities arising from the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, the automaker announced an 89-percent drop in operating profit for the year ended March, with black ink totaling just $119 million.
Rocked by the virus that’s thrown every automaker’s balance sheet into disarray, Mitsubishi scrapped its planned dividend and held back from issuing a projection for the current year. It’s also thinking small. The virus has changed the global landscape, and Mitsubishi says it will have to change to meet the challenge.
Rare Rides has featured a couple of JDM import vans previously, namely the Mazda Bongo and Toyota Town Ace. Today’s van is of similar JDM fashion, except this Mitsubishi is one of the few examples actually sold in North America during the model’s very short domestic run.
Let’s learn a bit more about the only large van Mitsubishi ever sold in America. Once again, it’s Van Time.
Nissan’s new restructuring plan, due out at the end of the month, is coming together, and it seems the document will spell out which members of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance will go where. In the interests of efficiency and not stepping on each other’s toes, sources claim the plan will see each automaker pour themselves into key markets, rather than competing against each other.
This will have the effect of making maximum use of resources.
For the Nissan brand, that means North America, China, and Japan will become its main stomping grounds.
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