Mitsubishi looks to crossovers and EVs for US success

Say what you will about
Mitsubishi, but the Japanese automaker is slowly seeing a resurgence here in the United States. December 2015 marked the company’s twenty-second consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases, and looking at last year as a whole,
Mitsubishi’s sales were up 23 percent over 2014. Ken Konieczka, Mitsubishi’s vice president of sales operations, says that in order to stay successful, the company will bet big on
crossovers and
electric vehicles in the coming years. And that means a relatively aggressive product plan here in the US.

First up, a brand-new
CUV will launch in early 2018, previewed by
the eX Concept that debuted at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show (pictured). Konieczka says Mitsubishi is making room for this new crossover in its lineup – the
Outlander will slowly get bigger, and the
Outlander Sport will get smaller. The production version of the eX will slot between those two.

Speaking of the
Outlander siblings, both will be replaced in the next five years. A new, larger Outlander will arrive in 2019, and the smaller
Outlander Sport will arrive in 2020. To fulfill the electric side of the business, Konieczka confirms the next Outlander Sport will sprout an EV variant, and the Outlander plug-in hybrid will launch in the United States later in 2016, as a 2017 model.

As for the rest of the company’s portfolio, Mitsubishi will offer the
hatchback and
new G4 sedan later this year. The future for the
Lancer, however, looks grim. Konieczka says Mitsubishi still can’t find an OEM partner to help create and produce a new
Lancer, and our gut says the compact sedan will be phased out in the very near future.

«We made a lot of mistakes,» Konieczka admits, saying Mitsubishi was «spread too thin [and] had too many models» in the past. This new, more focused approach on EVs and crossovers certainly sounds promising, and will hopefully help Mitsubishi continue its slow growth here in the US market. Still, we won’t know for sure until the new products actually reach showrooms. But for now, at least, things are steadily on the rise.

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