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Mitsubishi CEO: Mirage Sedan, Montero, Montero PHEV Likely for US

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2015 Mitsubishi Pajero

Update: Title changed to reflect the fact that the Pajero is the Montero, not the Mondeo. Our bad.

Mitsubishi Chairman and CEO Osamu Masuko says that despite being on the low end of the automotive food chain in term of its volume ability, Mitsubishi will not pack it in and stop selling its vehicles in the US ala Suzuki.

In fact, Osamu told Automotive News (subscription required) that Mitsubishi intends to bring new vehicles into the United States, which could very well include, among other things, regular and PHEV versions of the Pajero/Montero.

“We are putting our emphasis on SUVs in the United States,” Masuko said. “So we have to think about introducing the next-generation Pajero to the United States. There’s going to be a PHEV version. And we would like to introduce it.”

Masuko said that Mitsubishi is still weighing its options in terms of a large sedan that will be built in cooperation with Renault.

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Nothing specifically was mentioned regarding an eventual replacement for the faltering Lancer, but Masuko did mention the possibility of introducing a sedan version of the Mirage, which continues to sell above expectations thanks to a low starting price and the best available fuel economy for a non-hybrid.

Mitsubishi August 2014 Sales

2015 Mitsubishi Mirage ES

If the fuel economy is good, it will be accepted,” Masuko said.

Masuko indicated a window of October 2015 to March 2016 for a Mirage sedan to launch.

Most importantly, Osamu said that Mitsubishi is likely to pull in its first North American profit since 2008.

“One of the important efforts inside the company has been turning North America from red ink to black,” he added.

The success of the Outlander Sport, of which Mitsubishi has sold 25,620 examples to date, is one of the primary reasons for this, accounting for just shy of 40% of all Mitsubishi sales in the US.

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Overview

2015 Outlander Sport SE

  • Tim

    Who wrote this garbage? Mitsubishi doesn’t even make the Mondeo. Ford does. Author needs to get a clue.

    • The News Wheel

      Hi Tim,

      We wrote this garbage, and thank you for taking time out of your day to comment on an article about one of the industry’s most exciting brands. As you well know, it’s a thrill a minute in the world of Mitsubishi, so it’s sometimes hard to keep up with it all, meaning that we are liable to make a mistake now and then.

      Turns out that we got the Montero mixed up with the Mondeo, and the latter somehow ended up in the title of the blog. It’s like having a job interview with someone named Tom, but you keep calling them Tim and nobody ever corrects you. I’m sure you know what that’s like, right Tom? Of course you do.

      You’ll forgive us for the mishap, no doubt, considering that neither vehicle is actually sold in the United States, nor are they commonly written about. Also consider the fact that Mitsubishi, as we stated, is a brand that is almost constantly doing exciting things.

      Thanks for pointing that out, Trevor, and thanks, too, for being so sweet about it 🙂

  • Sam

    Here in OZ, the Pajero (Montero / Shogun) has been continuously on sale since 1982.
    The model introduced to the world in 1999 was a radical departure from previous models with fully independent suspension, monocoque chassis, 5 speed auto and love it or hate it styling.
    The model introduced in 2006 was marketed by Mitsubishi as totally new, but in reality was actually a mild makeover of a great vehicle which has now been in production for 13 years.
    Mitsubishi have been sitting on their hands for too long whilst many of us around the world have been eagerly waiting for a proper new model matching the innovation and thinking which lead to the 1999 release. In many ways the current model is right up there with the best, but in many other ways it has fallen so far behind. In my opinion over the last few 5 or so years, Mitsubishi should have kept pace with the competition by at the very least:
    • Improving the low speed ride
    • Improving Noise, Vibration and Harshness
    • Kept pace with current engine technology
    • Re packaged the interior
    • Dealt with the love it or hate it exterior styling (without going too soft as they did with the 2006 release)
    Instead, for at least the last 5 years; every year so Mitsubishi have been promising a brand new model. As late as early this year they released a statement saying “we are still working out which direction to take the new Pajero” whilst at the same time saying it will be released in 2015/2016! The latest rumour out of Europe is that it may now be delayed to 2018. All this goes to show that Mitsubishi have lost their way with this legend and many of us here in Oz and around the world are just plain disappointed with them.

    Whilst I hope that the potential reintroduction to the US market will speed up its development. Mitsubishi would do well to note that it is far easier to keep a customer than it is to win them back. I have given up waiting for a replacement Pajero and have gone over to the dark side.

    Sam from Western Australia.

    • The News Wheel

      Thanks, Sam. Superlative comment.

      The problem may very well be that Mitsubishi just doesn’t have the wiggle room to innovate. If you’re, say, Ford, it’s easy to try something different and risk failure. If the 2015 F-150 bombs because people just don’t like the aluminum, they’d be capable of sticking with their guns long enough to see if the market starts to turn and eventually reverting to a different platform if they had to without risking complete financial meltdown, even in spite of the fact that it’s their best seller. If you took Mitsubishi’s most popular model out of the lineup in any one of its major markets with a calculated risk that didn’t pan out, it’s game over.

      Mitsubishi is stuck doing the bare minimum because that’s about all they can afford to do, and it’s just not going to work. Without new models that feel contemporary and are able to compete with some of the bigger brands, Mitsubishi is spinning its wheels in stasis.

      Even when they do something very well–the Outlander PHEV comes to mind–something goes wrong. The Outlander PHEV should be their linchpin model in hundreds of markets around the world, but instead, it’s been a slow-to-start mess outside of Japan and Europe. If Mitsubishi had the vision and the means, the Outlander PHEV would be a global revelation. Instead, it’s a regional success (albeit a particularly large region).

      Mitsubishi is only doing just enough to get by, and that can only lead to lower-tier products and the endless hemorrhaging of its customer base. You’re far from alone in jumping ship, and unless the brand starts listening to those who still believe it can do good things, you will certainly be far from the last. People want exceptional, not adequate.