At the end of the day, if you don’t make enough appealing everyday cars – you won’t last long in the U.S. automotive market. For years, Mitsubishi couldn’t really figure this one out, but the Japanese automaker is taking steps in attempts to revitalize the brand for 2014.
Just recently it was announced that Tetsuro Aikawa would be named president and chief operating officer of Mitsubishi Motors. Aikawa has worked at Mitsubishi for 36 years and knows a thing or two about developing good products. He witnessed the high points of the new millennium and the low points of 2004’s split with Daimler Chrysler. When asked about Mitsubishi’s stateside endeavors, Aikawa stated that the company has no plans of leaving the US market anytime soon.
On positive notes, overall sales jumped to 4,867 vehicles last month, up 4.5 percent compared to January 2013. The American-made Outlander Sport contributed to the leap, up 36 percent to move 1,838 vehicles in January, followed by the seven-seat Outlander’s 53 percent gain to 941 units (its best result since 2007).
The 2014 Outlander also recently nabbed a Kelley Blue Book “5-Year Cost to Own Award” as well as one of IIHS’ “Top Safety Pick+” awards. These acclaims bode well for Mitsubishi, sales might see a jump even further once the 2015 Outlander PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) crosses the pond to the U.S. next year.
Currently delayed due to battery production issues from supplier Lithium Energy Japan, the Outlander PHEV will offer Americans electric performance, alongside SUV utility. Mitsubishi claims that the PHEV can drive 32 miles using electric power only, reach an EV top speed of 75 mph, and tow more than 3,000 pounds. We'll see if the company can use these positives to keep its head above water until the next Evo.
[via Automotive News]