2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport - Click above for high-res image gallery
Mitsubishi 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.
Related GalleryFirst Drive: 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
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[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]