Twenty years ago, Mitsubishi looked like an automotive brand that was going places. Their U.S. product lineup ranged from stout-but-affordable compact pickups, through luxury sports cars (the 3000GT VR4) and family sedans. The Eclipse GSX offered enthusiasts the best bang for the buck, and was an incredible track car that could be built to ridiculous levels of horsepower. Mitsubishi even cranked out an AWD, turbocharged performance sedan (the Galant VR-4), just in case you needed to get to the grocery store in a hurry, in any weather. In the years since, their product line has grown smaller by the year, their dealer network has all but evaporated and their only real sports car offering is the Evo X. Despite having some entertaining cars (like the Lancer Ralliart Sportback) and crossovers (the Outlander), Mitsubishi has almost no marketing presence in the United States. Either they’ve stopped producing ads or the ads they do run are utterly forgettable, and neither is an effective way to move inventory.
If you’re a fan of the three diamond brand like I am, there’s good news on the horizon. Mitsubishi plans to completely revamp their product lineup, eliminating U.S.-only vehicles in favor of global platforms, by 2013. The current Eclipse will be axed, the Endeavor will be killed off and the utterly bland Galant will be pulled from life support. These will be replaced by global platform models (yet to be named), which make far more financial sense for the struggling automaker. Mitsubishi also plans to introduce as many as six electric cars or hybrid vehicles by 2015, starting with the MiEV. By 2015, the company anticipates that 5% of their production will be electric-powered, necessary for them to meet tightening CAFE regulations.
Since Mitsubishi has excess capacity in their Normal, IL, production facility, long term plans call for them to build cars in the U.S. for export. Previously, the IL facility had been used to build U.S. market only vehicles; it has a capacity of 250,000 vehicles per year, but currently produces less than 40,000.
Source: Left Lane News