Mitsubishi CEO: Company Has “Changed Direction,” Will Focus on Crossovers

#hashtags: #Mitsubishi #CEO Osamu Masuko #Automotive News #Outlander Sport #Outlander #Masuko

Mitsubishi’s evolution in the U.S. will be dominated by crossovers and electric powertrains. Mitsubishi has hinted at this new direction in recent months and CEO Osamu Masuko recently shared his company’s short-term goals in an interview with Automotive News. Arriving toward the end of 2017 is a new crossover that will slot in a relatively tight space between the compact Outlander Sport and the midsize Outlander. Mitsubishi says this new crossover will have coupe-like styling and will be powered by either a conventional gas-powered engine or a plug-in hybrid system. The Mitsubishi eX concept that debuted at the 2015 Tokyo auto show is likely a strong hint of what to expect for the new crossover. Next up is a redesigned Outlander expected to launch shortly after the all-new crossover model. Mitsubishi has delayed the U.S. launch of its Outlander plug-in hybrid, but Masuko says that model will finally arrive sometime next year, along with the sedan version of the subcompact Mirage. Further down the line is the next-generation Outlander Sport, slated to arrive in the U.S. by 2019. That model will be offered with an optional all-electric powertrain, which will effectively replace the soon-to-be-discontinued i-MiEV as Mitsubishi’s EV model. A previous report suggested Mitsubishi was actively searching for a partner to develop the next-generation Lancer. Masuko, however, says his company has failed to secure a partnership which means his company is unable keep the compact sedan alive beyond the current-generation model. The Lancer Evolution, of course, faces a similar fate. “We are strong in SUVs and four-wheel drives. And that is what we would like to focus on as core models in the U.S. market. We have changed direction,” Masuko told AN. “We are going to allocate more resources to the areas where we are strong in the U.S.” Like other carmakers, crossovers and SUVs dominate Mitsu’s sales volume and has contributed to the automaker’s slow recovery in the U.S. But despite Mitsubishi’s focus on SUVs, Masuko says it has no plans to develop a next-generation Pajero, a full-sized SUV that was rumored to return to the U.S. (where it was previously sold as the Montero). Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)