There’s one car company that has been on my “death watch” list longer than any other automaker.
This list has seen the likes of Suzuki and Isuzu die in the United States, as well as Hummer, Pontiac, and Saturn. I’m not 100 percent accurate in my predictions, though, because I also once had Buick and Lincoln on that list. Buick is now firmly off, but I still have some concerns about Lincoln.
The brand that I thought had the highest probability of disappearing is Mitsubishi, which has been in the top spot on my list for close to a decade. The fact that it has outlasted Pontiac still blows my mind.
With very little marketing and a product offering that impresses no one, the little Japanese company still manages to sell a car now and then. And rather than fold and move out of the market, Mitsubishi is preparing to step things up a notch.
You’d be forgiven if you don’t know this, but Mitsubishi currently sells two crossovers in the States, one being the smaller Outlander Sport and the other being the larger Outlander. A third model will soon slot between them. (Allow me to submit a name idea: Outlander Median.)
Aimed squarely at the crossover-crazy US and European markets, this new vehicle will likely enter production two years from now. That should mean an auto show debut at Paris or Los Angeles in 2016, or at some point in early 2017. The new vehicle would duke it out with the redesigned Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson. If it sounds like this new CUV would cannibalize some of its little brother’s sales, you’d be right. To prevent this, Mitsu will tweak the sizes of the vehicles it currently offers.
As Mitsubishi fans know, the company has discontinued its biggest hit, the spritely Lancer Evolution, in favor of exploring the development of electric vehicles. While we wait for those, it looks like we’ll have two redesigned crossovers and one all-new one to hold our interest for at least a few more years.
What kind of future do you see for Mitsubishi?