When a car company begins to flounder, it has three options:
- Keep doing the same things and hope sales come back.
- Plan to substantially upgrade cars and add models to the lineup.
- Go electric.
Mitsubishi is the definition of floundering in the U.S. market. With Suzuki out of the picture, Mitsubishi is next in line to pull out. The automaker, though, has stood firm on its plans to commit to keep selling cars here, and it seems it has chosen option 3 as its plan of action.
I’d be curious to survey 1,000 new car shoppers and ask how many have a Mitsubishi on their list to test drive. Somewhere between 1 and 5 people, maybe? Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but the fact is that Mitsubishi doesn’t sell a lot of new cars here. Used models remain a good buy due to quick depreciation and solid build quality, but those sales don’t help the company’s bottom line.
To energize sales here and bring the brand back into relevance, Mitsubishi will dive deep into the electic market. It already has the electric i-MiEV for sale, which has garnered some decent reviews, and now plans are to bring an electrified Montero SUV to market.
In fact, the company is looking to electrify its entire line of SUVs and pickups. In an interview with Automotive News, Mitsubishi president Osamu Masuko said that he wanted to bring the electric Montero here and make the company known once again as a leader in the full-size SUV segment.
Masuko went on to say that the company hopes to make electric cars account for about 20 percent of its total product offering over the next several years.
Could an electric SUV do enough to move Mitsubishi into a position of leadership in the market? Highly doubtful. Sure, it would move some units, but I don’t see how an SUV, a vehicle that is meant to transport people and stuff over long distances, can thrive with the limitations of being electric.
Would you be in the market for an electric SUV?