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Mitsubishi Lancer sales struggle

Struggling: Mitsubishi’s Lancer small car found just 361 customers last month, according to VFACTS.

Lancer sales plummet 72 per cent in November as Mitsubishi small car shows its age

5 Dec 2013

MITSUBISHI’S climb up the Australian sales charts last month was achieved without the usual contribution from its entrant in Australia’s high-volume small-car segment, the Lancer, which slipped to its lowest monthly sales tally in memory in November.

The small sedan and hatch range managed just 361 sales and a 1.6 per cent share of the category, which accounts for almost a quarter of all Australian vehicle sales.

Mitsubishi’s overall sales climbed 2.8 per cent compared with the same month last year, on the back of strong performances by the incentivised Triton ute, Mirage light hatchback and ASX small SUV, but the aging Lancer dived 72.3 per cent, according to official VFACTS sales figures.

In November last year, the Lancer achieved 1302 sales for a 6.3 per cent share of the small car segment against rivals such as the market-leading Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla, which routinely sell more than 3000 units a month.

This year, Lancer sales peaked at 1753 units in June, before gyrating between about 800 and 1400 units for several months, then falling to 361 in November.

A search of monthly sales figures back to January 2000 found that the previous lowest sales figure for Lancer was 624 units in September 2007 when the model was in run out ahead of the launch of the current shape.

In the six years since, Lancer’s main rivals have all been reinvented, leaving Mitsubishi and its dealers to fight it out on price, specification and two minor facelifts. According to a dealer flyer seen by GoAuto, the base Lancer ES was offered for $15,990 driveaway recently.

Officially, Mitsubishi’s specials page on its website is advertising the Lancer LX manual for $21,990 driveaway. The list price is $23,990, plus on-road costs.

Year to date, Lancer sales have slid 23 per cent, to 11,004 vehicles, compared with more than 14,000 last year.

And it could be a long wait for an all-new replacement, as Mitsubishi has announced that it has entered into an agreement to co-develop a small car with Renault-Nissan – a project that could take a couple of years.

Despite the Lancer’s sales slip last month, Mitsubishi recorded 5150 sales, 2.8 per cent up on the same month last year. Year to date, the Adelaide-based company is running 18.3 per cent ahead of last year, with 64,822 sales to the end of November.

This represents a 6.2 per cent market share, compared with 5.4 per cent last year.

Mitsubishi Motors Australia Australia sales director Greg Cook said November was a solid month for the company with end-of-year campaigns contributing to favourable results across its LCV, SUV and passenger car portfolio.

“At Mitsubishi, we’re in good shape for a really strong finish to 2013,” he said.

“The work we’ve done throughout the year to position ourselves for long-term, profitable and sustainable growth will also help us set a new import-only calendar sales record in a highly competitive market.”

Until the end of the year, Mitsubishi is offering cash-back deals on Triton, Outlander, Challenger, Pajero, ASX, Lancer and Mirage.

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