Mitsubishi Plans New Lineup, Sporty Van – Kelley Blue Book - Latest Global News

Mitsubishi Plans New Lineup, Sporty Van – Kelley Blue Book

Mitsubishi Motors is one of the 20 largest automobile manufacturers in the world with a history spanning half a century and sales on almost every continent. But the brand’s current range in the USA doesn’t suggest that.

The brand with the three-diamond logo has sold great off-road SUVs, affordable pickup trucks and budget sports cars over the years. There was once a world-class rally racing operation and a compact rally car so popular it had a nickname (remember the Evo?).

There are only two compact SUVs sold today that are similar enough to compete with each other (the Outlander and the Outlander Sport) and the Mirage, an affordable car with (see notes) 78 horsepower. It’s not a stable worthy of the brand’s history.

But the company wants to change that. Mitsubishi this week unveiled a five-year plan that calls for introducing a new model every year between 2026 and 2030.

“Mitsubishi Motors is at a critical juncture in North America and is laying out a bold, clear and achievable plan for our future success in the United States,” said Mark Chaffin, President and CEO of MMNA.

The sporty, robust van would be a category of its own

Industry publication Automotive News reports that the plan includes “a sporty people carrier” based on the D:X concept that was unveiled at the Tokyo Mobility Show last year. It would be a unique offering in the American market, with “the spacious interior of an MPV (multi-purpose vehicle), the road holding of an SUV” and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) capability, allowing the use of electricity for short journeys and gasoline for longer ones trips.

Smaller SUV, outback rival planned

Other plans include a more robust, off-road SUV based on the Outlander platform. A dealer who spoke to AN anonymously called it “Subaru Outback-like.” A PHEV crossover smaller than the Outlander may also be in the works.

Dealers have also reportedly asked Mitsubishi for a new pickup truck, but the company has no plans for one yet.

The report doesn’t mention the return of Mitsubishi’s defunct Ralliart performance brand, but the company has been touting this development for two years.

Plans for more dealers

Mitsubishi will also look to expand its dealer network. The company says it will “expand into new markets around the U.S. where it does not currently have a retail presence to make the company’s vehicles more accessible to more customers.”

That could have a positive impact on sales, as buyers interested in a Mitsubishi product today face concerns about few dealers and limited service locations.

That’s a lot of promise for a brand that today only has a shadow of its former presence in the US market. But Mitsubishi has an international infrastructure that newer, growth-oriented brands lack, and partnerships with Renault and Nissan that could give it more resources.

Let’s hope the extension works. We would love to see the rivalry between Subaru WRX and Mitsubishi Evo revived.

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