Platform Sharing With Nissan Could Hurt Mitsubishi’s North American Lineup
While its name invited the groan of enthusiasts everywhere when it was unveiled at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross represents an important part of the Japanese automaker’s future, which is set to revolve around crossovers, SUVs, and electrified versions of those crossovers and SUVs rather than the performance sedans that once excited a generation of young car buyers.
Unfortunately, because of its new alliance with Nissan, which purchased a controlling stake in the company to the tune of $2.3 billion, Mitsubishi may be facing unexpected segment overlap within its own North American lineup.
The Road Ahead: Mitsubishi’s plans for the future
Before the Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance took form, Mitsubishi had been planning to launch the next-generation Outlander in 2018 and Outlander Sport in 2019; but now both models have been pushed back by as much as two years.
This is because engineers are seeking ways to share the components and underpinnings of Nissan and Mitsubishi models not visible to consumers, which would allow Nissan-Mitsubishi to save money without compromising the outer identity for which the brands are known. As a result, the next-generation Outlander and Outlander Sport models have been delayed as engineers seek ways to share the current-gen components with Nissan vehicles.
This not only underscores Carlos Ghosn’s urgent desire to deliver his promised shared savings but also compromises the launch of the upcoming 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross.
Spotlight: Explore the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
While the Eclipse Cross was designed to slot between the Outlander Sport and Outlander in the automaker’s North American lineup, the new crossover is nonetheless quite similar to the two vehicles, particularly to the Outlander Sport. The next-generation models were expected to be redesigned in such a way as to distance themselves from the Eclipse Cross and to avoid segment overlap. After all, it doesn’t do Mitsubishi any good to go through the expensive process of designing and launching a new vehicle only for it to draw sales away from another Mitsubishi offering.
The Eclipse Cross is slated for North American launch in early 2018; unfortunately for Mitsubishi, that means it may be facing up to two years of segment overlap within its own lineup.