Why isn't the struggling automaker worried?
Automakers around the world are all shaking in their collective boots over the recent tariffs proposed by US president Donald Trump. Among the many frightened automakers, Mitsubishi is surprisingly not concerned about the threats of a 25% tariff on imported vehicles in the US. Speaking to Automotive News, Mitsubishi COO Trevor Mann said the company will be able to overcome the hurdles of auto tariffs. "In the short term," he says, "I would see it as a bump in the road."
Mitsubishi is struggling to ditch its distressed image in the US, which could be achieved with the help of a new design director that was poached from Alfa Romeo. The company is planning to introduce new models by 2020, like the next generation of the Outlander SUV. Even though Mitsubishi currently builds all of its cars outside of the US, Mann says the company can overcome tariffs by utilizing platforms and engines from alliance partners Renault and Nissan. After 2020, Mitsubishi could return to the US with a new manufacturing plant, which would further help the brand avoid tariff costs.
The biggest reason why Mitsubishi isn't afraid of the tariffs is that only 10% of the company's global sales (and even less of its profits) come from the US. "It's not going to be a corporate disaster for us," Mann said, "the impact on us would be less than on many other brands." Basically, Mitsubishi is too small for US tariffs to even matter. There is a chance that Mitsubishi's planned efforts could help revitalize the company, but for now, the Japanese automaker has bigger problems than tariffs - like introducing new models, increasing sales, finding greater synergy with Renault and Nissan, and repairing relationships with US dealers.