By on October 28, 2019

Watching Mitsubishi return from death’s door has been less exciting than the first part of this sentence makes it sound. Part of that stems from the automaker’s position as a multinational corporation that has lost its way and not some down-on-his-luck boxer you’re supposed to be rooting for in a movie. Even if you were inclined to clap for corporate comebacks, Mitsubishi hasn’t earned its standing ovation just yet.

While the brand’s U.S. sales have improved every year since 2013, progress has been gradual. Last year, Mitsubishi moved 118,074 autos inside America — the best it has managed since before the Great Recession, but nowhere near its 2002 high of 345,915 deliveries. That might paint the situation a bit darker than it actually is, however.

Mitsubishi has actually managed to retain customers in China far better than it could in the U.S. and its European sales are higher than they’ve ever been. The Japanese firm also has a strong footprint in numerous developing markets around the world. But North America has historically been an extremely important market for Mitsubishi, and it wants its market share back, so it’s making some additional changes.  (Read More…)

By on May 17, 2019

Image: Nissan

After seeing its fortunes switch from dire to promising over the past few years, Mitsubishi Motors will gain a new chief operating officer on June 21. On Friday, the automaker announced that Osamu Masuko plans to step down as CEO, five years after taking on the job.

Under Masuko’s watch, the automaker rekindled its North American business and entered the Renault-Nissan Alliance, ensuring cost-effective technology and platform sharing in the years ahead. (Read More…)

By on March 12, 2019

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

Mitsubishi has quite the storied history, but for car lovers things don’t really kick off until the 1970s, when the company spun off Mitsubishi Motors from its Heavy Industries division. With help from Chrysler, the Japanese company managed a foothold in North America and started escalating volume. Before long, Mitsubishi was delivering economically minded vehicles to the American masses while fleshing out its lineup to include sporting models.

By the 1990s, Mitsubishi was the underdog option for discerning import enthusiasts. But all of those spectacular models gradually started to vanish. The 3000GT disappeared from the market, the Eclipse morphed into an overweight cruiser without the option of all-wheel drive, the Galant lost its excellent VR-4 variant, and the company never bothered to replace any of its previously discontinued performance models to pick up the slack. Eventually, Mitsubishi even abandoned the beloved Lancer Evolution due to hard times.  (Read More…)

By on January 30, 2019

Mitsubishi is too busy turning the brand around to bother trickling out newsworthy content to the media. Much of what you read in the press relates to how the brand is doing as the newest addition to the Renault-Nissan Alliance, hot takes regarding its marketing decisions, and the occasional update from auto executives on future products. For the most part, the latter issue can be paraphrased into “more utility models as soon as we can get them to you,” though the company does have limited aspirations for a new sedan and pickup.

However, crossovers come first at Mitsubishi. On Tuesday, the brand put out the initial teaser for its Engelberg Tourer Concept — an ultra-modern CUV with off-road ambitions headed for a debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. (Read More…)

By on April 16, 2018

Mitsubishi Evolution VIII

While Mitsubishi Motors isn’t in the same dire straits it once was, the brand has only recently stopped hemorrhaging sales after doing so for over a decade. After losing half of its annual volume between 2002 and 2004, Mitsubishi trudged further into delivery darkness during the recession — finally dragging itself back into the light after SUV sales improved. Unfortunately, its image has not been so quick to recover and volume has a long way to go before anyone at the company will be celebrating.

However, the brand has a lot of closeted fans over the age of 30 in the United States. There was a time when Mitsubishi offered affordable transportation that you could happily live with and a handful of fun models for those interested in hooliganism. People who remember driving those vehicles don’t see Mitsubishi as a lost cause, but as a formerly important automaker that has seriously lost its way.

Fortunately, the brand now has the means to find itself. With help from the Renault-Nissan Alliance and its own parent company, Mitsubishi Motors may even be poised for a comeback. Last year the company sold 103,686 vehicles inside the United States, a feat which hadn’t been replicated since 2007 when the brand was still losing sales like they were socks in a dryer.  (Read More…)

By on March 1, 2018

mitsubishi outlander

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. (Read More…)

By on August 6, 2017

2014 i-MiEV Aqua

It’s always a little sad to see an existing model discontinued. Well, almost always. Mitsubishi is taking the hint and officially killing the unloved i-MiEV — something we are willing to bet isn’t going to inspire an abundance of heartache within the driving community.

Despite being a pioneering electric car (and kind of cute), the i-MiEV was never what one might consider a volume vehicle. Since 2015, North America had frequently seen months where the little Mitsubishi couldn’t even break out of the single digit sales bracket. Last year, Canada sold a total of 86 units and the United States moved 94.

With a 62-mile range rating and one of the smallest interiors money can buy, it has always been poorly suited for the majority of American drivers’ needs and repeatedly slashing the price never made up the difference. While Nissan’s Leaf comes in almost $8,000 grand higher, $22,995 is still a lot to pay for something you don’t want — and nobody wanted an i-MiEV.
(Read More…)

By on April 4, 2017

2017 Mirage Mitsubishi

If you’ve ever been inside a Mitsubishi Mirage, you know its only slightly preferable to being hogtied and drug behind a much nicer car. Its engine is beyond anemic at highway speeds, there is an uncomfortable level of road noise, and it’s about as luxurious as a shoebox. The Mirage is the rental you receive when the “special value” option seems too good to be true — because it is.

Prepare yourself for a brain aneurysm as you read the following sentence: The Mitsubishi Mirage is, according to the Automotive Science Group, the best performance vehicle money can buy. That, and Mitsubishi is honored as the “Best All-Around Performance Brand.”

How could this possibly happen?  (Read More…)

By on March 14, 2017

Mitsubishi banner

Nissan is remaking Mitsubishi Motors in its own image, restructuring it into a more multinational organization with a less traditional Japanese hierarchy. The automotive arm of the tri-diamond keiretsu has already undergone early changes to revamp production and take advantage of its new role within the Franco-Japanese alliance after selling a controlling stake to Nissan in October for $2.29 billion.

Now Nissan is further shuffling the deck in Mitsubishi’s boardroom to better represent a company within the Renault-Nissan partnership. The management changes place more foreigners and a woman in top executive roles, ending the company’s long-standing practice of promoting employees based exclusively on seniority. (Read More…)

By on April 20, 2016

Mitsubishi kei car

Mitsubishi Motors has some ‘splaining to do after fuel economy figures for its tiny overseas eK wagon were proven to be false.

The automaker overstated gas mileage by five to 10 percent over the last three model years, Bloomberg reports, allowing the minicars to be classified as greener than they actually were.

Powered by small-displacement three-cylinder engines, the vehicles are called “kei cars” in Japan (no, not K-cars). (Read More…)

By on July 28, 2014

1024px-Mitsubishi_Delica_D5_001

 

 

In April, when they released their FY2013 annual results, MMC (Mitsubishi Motors Corp) reported record profits; see Reuters and Automotive News for stories.

Don’t get too excited.

(Read More…)

By on May 23, 2013

IMG_5537

After accumulating some $9 billion in losses, Mitsubishi Motors is bringing its financial house in order. According to Reuters, “Mitsubishi Motors is considering asking shareholders to approve plans for a 10-for-1 reverse stock split. At the same time, the company may ask shareholders to approve a capital reorganization – a change in accounting that would make it possible to resume paying dividends.” (Read More…)

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