Sales may be up, but profits aren't.
Over the past several weeks, Nissan has been providing more details regarding its revitalization plan with North America playing a vital role. The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance is definitely remaining intact, but Nissan has been designated the leader in our neck of the woods, which makes sense given that Renault has no presence here. As for Mitsubishi, it's the smallest of the three and we already learned its future in the European market is uncertain.
Today, Automotive News has learned that despite increased sales in the US, Mitsubishi is likely to reduce its American market efforts. Instead, Mitsubishi will continue to focus its efforts in regions where it has solid momentum, specifically Southeast Asia and Oceania. It also plans to develop more trucks, SUVs, and vans for those markets because of their established popularity.
Basically, the alliance will work like this: Nissan will be the leader in North America, Renault in Europe, and Mitsubishi in those aforementioned regions. Each brand will play to their strengths. So, what does this all mean for Mitsubishi's American market future?
"Even though we increased sales volume in the megamarkets, we have not yet achieved the level of profit we expected," Mitsubishi CEO Takao Kato said. "We aim to increase sales in the regions where we can offer our core products. We will gradually reduce our commitment to megamarkets." Last year, the automaker increased US sales by an impressive 2.5 percent to just over 121,000 vehicles, including the popular Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV crossover.
However, that figure was still lower than Tesla's total 2019 tally. Retaining the current lineup, such as the aging but very affordable Mitsubishi Mirage sedan and hatchback, isn't likely to continue under the new plan. Its crossovers will likely remain, and one recent rumor claimed the next Outlander could be powered by a Nissan engine. Mitsubishi intends to slash global costs by 20 percent by March 31, 2022, and much of those cost reductions will, for better or worse, come from America and Europe.
Mitsubishi certainly isn't a goner in America, but it's more unlikely than ever to return to its 1990s era popularity.