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Mitsubishi's Transformation May Include New Pickup, Sedan For U.S.

Mitsubishi's Transformation May Include New Pickup, Sedan For U.S.

With a new controlling interest from Nissan, Mitsubishi is undergoing a rapid transformation. The transformation is being led by Nissan veteran Trevor Mann, the company’s new COO and the guy tasked with revitalizing Mitsubishi by leveraging costs savings from sharing with Nissan and deploying new products to grow the brand.

In a recent interview with Automotive News Mann outlined some of his transformation plan for Mitsubishi, which includes the possibility of a new sedan and pickup truck in the U.S. market. Mann stated both are potentials as the company intends to focus most of its growth efforts on the U.S., China and Southeast Asian markets over the next few years.

The concept of a Mitsubishi pickup is not a new one. From 2005 to 2009 the Mitsubishi Raider pickup was sold on the U.S. market. Based on the Dodge Dakota, the Raider was produced by Chrysler Group and was largely viewed as a sales flop. It’s largest annual sales figure came in 2007, which Mitsubishi dealers moved just under 7,500 units for the year.

Of course details of the possible sedan and pickup are not known at this time. Mann speculated that Mitsubishi could potentially leverage Nissan platforms for future products, which is probably highly likely given Mann’s background in production and cost control. He also speculated that perhaps the entire Nissan Renault alliance could build a new truck platform for shared use.

Thus far Mann is wasting no time turning around Mitsubishi. The company was projecting an operating loss at the end of its fiscal year on March 31st, but the bottom line ended in the black. Mann and team ultimately pushed ahead just over $27 million in cost savings in the last fiscal year, solely for the purpose of pushing Mitsubishi back in the black. Nissan and Mitsubishi are estimating cost savings of around $226 million total due to the new alliance between the two automakers.

Aside from new products and cost savings, Mann also has aspirations to increase Mitsubishi’s dealership network in the U.S. Subsequently, he’d also like to see the company get back to producing Mitsubishi products in the U.S. The company closed its one U.S. manufacturing facility last year, but Mann hinted that new products could be produced at Nissan plants in North America in the future.

 





 

About Nick Saporito

AutoVerdict Senior Editor Nick Saporito began writing about cars at age 13. Nick ran a couple of automotive enthusiast sites for several years, before taking some time off to focus on his career and education. By day he's a marketing executive in the telecom world and by night he hangs out here at AV. You'll find him focusing on tech, design and the industry's future.
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  1. member12
    arutherford
    Don't really think a sedan is viable for them.


    They really screwed the pooch on the Galant. It was a competitive player until about 2005, but then the 9th generation came out and pretty much ruined Mitsubishi's stake in the mid sized market. They relied on pretty shady lending practices to move those heaps, which I think ended up damaging the brand's image and hurting resale value for their product line.

    It's too hard to enter that market right now. A lot of excellent cars are competing for a shrinking piece of the pie.

    You are right in that they should try to focus on crossovers for people in the snow belt. The Outlander Sport and the Lancer are really the only thing that people seem willing to buy - and both are really not that competitive and need updates.

    I do see an massive potential opening for them. I think they could bring back the Montero as an off-road capable mid sized SUV and generate real buzz among buyers who may not have realized that Mitsubishi still sells vehicles in the US.
    arutherford
    Don't really think a sedan is viable for them. Just make crossovers and a truck.
    Tone
    Let Mistubishi use Nissan's CUV platforms to bring to market a range of perfornance-oriented CUVs that leverage the company's rally heritage. Might be nice to see them racing again in rally and Paris-to-Dakar. Add a pickup (with a performance off-road variant) and you might have a niche brand that hits where the market is growing.

    Do they really need a sedan when sedans aren't growing and they'd basically have some variant of the middling Sentra/Altima platforms? Not sure how to make that viable.
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