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ASX to soldier on, says Mitsubishi

Old salt: The Mitsubishi ASX still holds its own against newer rivals such as the Mazda CX-3 in the sales charts.

Mitsubishi set to update ASX as it moves into its eighth year on sale

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Mitsubishi logo7 Apr 2017

By TIM ROBSON

MITSUBISHI Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) says it sees no reason that the ageing ASX small SUV cannot carry on for another couple of years, despite it coming up to its eighth year on sale.

Launched in early 2010, the ASX has been one of the company’s strongest performers in the fast growing small-SUV segment, racking up 18,126 sales in 2016, just 208 units shy of the category leader, Mazda’s CX-3.

It also marked a 33.7 per cent increase over its 2015 total.

However, the CX-3 has started 2017 strongly, easing out to a 1000-unit advantage year to date with 4555 sales, versus 3599 for the ASX.

A late model year change for the ASX will be previewed at next week’s New York motor show, heralding a revised version of the dynamic shield front end, which is likely to make it to Australia in October or November of this year.

Notably, the change heralds the return of LED daytime running lamps to the front of the ASX, which were deleted for the facelifted version that lobbed late last year.

MMAL director of sales Tony Principe told GoAuto at the media launch of the Outlander PHEV in Adelaide that the company was currently negotiating with its head office about 2018 model year updates to the ASX, suggesting that the changes would be incremental, not revolutionary.

“They're probably what we would call model year upgrades,” he said. “It's a bit of tinkering with some of the features and styling. We're obviously trying to bring in a lot of the safety stuff. Basically we want to keep them competitive.

That's the key.”

Mr Principe revealed that the incoming Eclipse Cross would feature an extensive range of driver aids, and the ASX is set to capitalise on the up-spec.

“The Eclipse Cross is a similar platform, and that’s going to have have all those features too,” he said. “They're obviously working on all those features that cross that particular platform.” Mr Principe said that the ASX had benefitted from a constant stream of updates over the last seven years, and that its sales record spoke for itself.

“We released the original in 2010, but it has had significant upgrades,” he said. “I think a lot of people are quite surprised, because I remember the 2010 car, a lot of the journalists said, ‘You know it’s okay but it needed a little bit of reforming’. But we had done quite a few enhancements in the last two years, and the car is actually quite a well performing vehicle.

“NVH levels, all those sorts of things, are being addressed, and styling wise we’ve made a lot of changes to that front. I think there’s still a bit of life in that car.”

Sales of the ASX to rental fleets are still strong, according to Mr Principe, but private sale are still a focus.

“It’s very popular amongst the rental car crowd,” he said. “They say our resale values are fantastic, and it’s a very popular car with all of the rental car companies. They’re going to keep ringing us, wanting to take more, and we’re constantly pushing back. Unfortunately, there’s a limited production coming out of MMC and we’re trying to balance our relationship with the rental car companies.

“There’s a very strong demand for that car we’re neck and neck with the CX-3.

I think it’s a little bit bigger than some of the other vehicles in that segment, so it’s probably more utilitarian than a lot of the competitors.”

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