Here's how Mitsubishi is planning its US comeback.
It's been a long road to recovery for Mitsubishi, and while the manufacturer still has a tough task ahead on reinventing itself and becoming relevant again in the US, joining forces with Renault-Nissan Alliance, which has a 34 percent stake in in Mitsubishi, has repaired the company's financial woes. Whereas last year Mitsubishi was bracing itself for its first operations loss in over a decade, since Trevor Mann was appointed as COO the automaker is expecting to return a full-year profit for the year ending March 31, according to Automotive News.
Now, the company is planning its comeback for the US, which may include a new sedan and pickup. Speaking to Automotive News, Mann acknowledged that the US, China and Southeast Asia are pivotal for Mitsubishi's on-going road to recovery, and that its partnership with Nissan allows the automaker to execute plans that would have been impossible last year. It's biggest hurdle, however, is becoming relevant in America again. Despite growing sales, Mitsubishi closed its sole US assembly plant last year, but Mann hinted that manufacturing may resume in the US, possibly using a Nissan plant. He also plans to expand Mitsubishi's existing US dealer network, which currently consists of 362 franchises.
We need to start to grow. We need to start to improve our network," he said, adding that Mitsubishi will consider different possibilities. "We can reopen many things." Later down the line, Mitsubishi may consider releasing a new pickup in the US possibly on a Nissan platform to reduce production costs, as well as a sedan in collaboration with Nissan or Renault to replace the Lancer which is being killed off this year. "It's something that we should look at," he said. "As we go forward and start to have common platforms, an alliance pickup platform would be quite an appropriate thing for us to do."
Other reports have suggested that a shared platform could underpin the next generation Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi Triton pickups as part of Mitsubishi's US comeback. Don't expect to see the new Mitsubishi pickup or sedan any time soon, though. For now, the manufacturer is focusing its efforts capitalizing on the demand for SUVs and crossovers to increase US sales with the launch of the Eclipse Cross.