• Sep 23rd 2010 at 9:00AM
  • 61
2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport - Click above for high-res image gallery

has had a very rough road the last few years. Its sales have fallen steadily since a peak year in 2002 when the brand pushed 354,111 units out the door. According to Automotive News, Osamu Masuko, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, says he is often asked if the Japanese automaker is ready to pull out of the U.S. market. "It never enters my mind," he says.

The company with the triple diamond logo has big plans and lofty goals for the near future. Currently, Mitsubishi moves around 50,000 vehicles per year and Masuko's personal goal is to push that figure to 200,000 vehicles – an increase of 400 percent. He believes the path to his goals is through new products and moderate incentives, both of which will help drive steady and sustainable growth.

The product lineup is shifting away from a past littered with larger sedans and SUVs. Mitsubishi is going to aim for smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles as well as all-electric vehicles such as the i-MiEV. In addition, it plans to move away from regional vehicles to develop consistent global platforms. Since the U.S. market only accounts for less than 10 percent of global sales, this sounds like a smart move, but smaller vehicles often bring smaller profit potential, so it will be interesting to see if Mitsu can thrive with this sort of a business plan.

Osamu Masuko's bottom line is that changes are coming, Mitsubishi is going to turn its ship around starting this year with new offerings like the Outlander Sport, and it remains committed to regaining its past success in the American market.

Photos by Damon Lavrinc / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      If they want to improve their sales they need to improve the product. Earlier this year a part of the lower section of the back of my driver seat broke and I took it in to have the section replaced. While I was there I wondered around and looked at their cars. A sales women convinced me to try out the current get Lancer. It looked nice inside and out but other then that it left me very underwhelmed. The seats were LESS comfortable then my 02, the cars acceleration was about the same, the ride was a about the same. Other then the god awful seats it felt like I was driving my 02 with a new coat of paint.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wish them luck, because their products are good. Their dealer network sucks though, and at least here in Michigan the dealerships that do have products on the lot only have a handful, at best. Personally, I'd like to see them do a modern, twin turbo 3000GT to announce that they're here to not only compete, but make a comeback.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree, their dealers aren't the greatest. Around here, Mitsu dealers don't really last long before they close up shop and a year later another one opens up. That is what is deterring me from purchasing one. If the local Mitsu dealer goes under, the nearest one is a 4 hour drive away.

        Do I really want to be driving a vehicle that potentially has something wrong with it 4 hours to the dealer for warranty work?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I must say that Judy Zik is bang on. I run a Mitsubishi dealership in the Caribbean and I must say that they just seem virtually incapable of replacing and adding to their model line up in a reasonable timeframe. The Lancer and the Sportero Pickup work very well for us, but they dont send that pickup to the US, so all you have to remember MMC by in pickups is the Raider fiasco. Mitsubishi's first aim should be to offer the Outlander Sport with a smaller engine for lesser price, side by side of its current engine in order to increase sales. It then needs a vehicle in the B segment below the Lancer, with a sport image and a lower price in order to reinforce its youth image. Think the new small Ford or VW Golf GT. It should retire the Endeavour and bring the Montero Sport back into the US market but named the Nativa for a new image (its name in the rest of the world except UK). They then need an A-segment vehicle like the I Miev. And, to keep a good thing going, an immediate refresh of the Lancer is required. Bottom line, though, they must leave no room for someone to critique their handling or quality in comparison to a Mazda or a Subaru. And when this is done, they need to execute their marketing department. I refuse to even acknowledge the existence of Drive@Earth. They have a large issue with names and marketing drives. They tried to name one of their trucks a Super Great a few years ago. I almost died laughing.
      • 5 Years Ago
      We love our endeavor. BUT they just need to be more competitive... a HUGE v6 (3.8 liter) that only gets 20 MPG And only produces 225 HP is pretty archaic.
      • 5 Years Ago
      they should bring back the Montero, can't believe they preferred to stick with the Endeavour....
      • 5 Years Ago
      Mitsus are ok, just ugly, REALLY UGLY and boring, well the Evo is not boring, just too expensive.

      If they want to get ahead...

      1) change their stylist. Like they've had the same look for what ? ...decades? They look like 90 retro with gaping death mask.

      2) put some interesting technology in their cars. Right now they are the only car that makes a Toyota look up-market, esp the interiors.

      3) as they apparently are doing... get some decent sporty attractive small cars in the showroom.

      4) bring back the Summit uVan like vehicle. We need a PT replacement.

        • 5 Years Ago
        If it is one thing I can Mitsubishi has never had a problem with, it is looks. I don't think REALLY UGLY applies to any of them -especially when you compare them with other Japanese brands.

        I think Hondas and Acuras are either ugly, weird or just homly.

        Same with Nissan.

        Toyota is just bland.

        Subaru used to have interesting designs but now it seems they are going the bland or clumsy look depending on which model you are talking about.

        Mazda? All I can think of is that big goofy grin on the front of the 3.

        I can barely think of what a Suzuki looks like, but I think most of them are pleasant to look at.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If they did leave the US market, who, other than the Evo fanboys, would notice?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Me too. My wife wants a Lancer Sportback. We like the FUSE system in the 2011s.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Me. I want an Outlander Sport. Now.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Bring Citroen and Peugeot over.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They might survive as a niche brand.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Come in, stay for a while. Just make sure you have some kick ass vehicles in the mix.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good to hear it.

      Though the last few Mitsubishi cars have been... Less than groundbreaking (I'm looking at you, 2008 Galant) Mitsubishi does have a legacy, albeit a dying one. But from that legacy, a beautiful future may just arise. I have faith in Mitsubishi.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree that they have a place but they need to find it and fast.

        One thing I think they should do is abandon the midsize segment for a bit. It's too competitve for the Galant to be so bad and might be too difficult to find the resources to make the Galant competitive. Right now they have a good thing going with the Lancer and the Outlander which is one of the best SUV/Crossovers that nobody knows about. If you haven't had the chance to drive one or even look at one you should really take a look. It would make you feel a little better about Mitsu.

        Maybe they could become the Japanese Jeep?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I have faith, but I'm not sure why. I can't believe they had 350,000 annual sales eight years ago. To fall that far and do seemingly nothing about it in the meantime? That's incredible mismanagement. Suzuki has a hard enough road to hoe, never being a major player and being saddled with Daewoos for a few years. But when I look at Mitsubishi, all I can think of is that they brought this on themselves and didn't seem to care. That's the sad part.
      • 5 Years Ago
      How much of their brand goodwill was lost by their endless cash on the hood and cheap financing? They seemed to be pushing that game long and hard, which had to have affected their resale value, which just gives them a reputation as cheap cars.

      They were a good matchup with Chrysler: they could make some good looking cars, but they just couldn't make good cars.

      OTOH, Mitsu corporate seems to have plenty of business working with other companies on small engines, so somebody thinks they have a clue.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You must hang out in poor neighborhoods and Wal-Mart parking lots. I can find "*tons*" of examples of beat cars of every make and model in those places.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They don't seem to be as bad now, but for years I saw *tons* of Mitsubishis huffing blue smoke, and any time I saw a Chrysler minivan smoking, it had the V6 (Mitsu 3.0) emblem on the front fenders. Their durability and quality reputation is in the tank, and the years of 0-0 financing pushes haven't helped the brand, either. And I can't count the number of beater Galants I see on the road, with one (or all) wheelcovers missing (or replaced with some Wal-Mart or AutoZone wheelcovers), coupled with unrepaired body damage.
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