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Mitsubishi ASX to resist Eclipse Cross onslaught

Crossing over: The Eclipse Cross could be one of next Mitsubishi models in line for electrified powertrains.

New Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross mid-sizer to bridge SUV gap in line-up

Mitsubishi logo3 Oct 2017

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

MITSUBISHI believes its new Eclipse Cross will have enough unique design, dimension and specification differences to lure buyers from rival brands rather than steal sales from the popular ASX and Outlander models that it will slot in between in the company’s SUV line-up.

While admitting that some sales cannibalisation would be inevitable given the expected overlap in pricing and positioning between the three models, Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) president and CEO, John Signoriello, said that he was confident that the ASX would hold its ground with small SUV consumers despite its age.

“There might be some cannibalisation possibly,” he revealed to GoAuto at a preview of the Eclipse Cross in the Northern Territory last week. “Maybe more from the Outlander… but there certainly won’t be that much with ASX.

“They are all quite different and quite dynamic in their own way. I think each is for a certain type of person – appealing according to what they want and what they’re looking for. The Outlander is more of a wagon, the ASX is more of a city-type car and the Eclipse Cross is something in-between those.

“I think we could differentiate the buyer from ASX and the Eclipse Cross… so I’m not worried. I’m quietly excited.”

While the ASX has been locked in a battle for segment leadership with the Mazda CX-3 since the latter launched in 2015, this year the Mitsubishi’s sales are up by about five per cent while the CX-3 has dipped by almost the same amount, nosing the ASX ahead in year-to-date figures.

According to Mr Signoriello, the ASX’s combination of low price, roomy interior and high equipment levels should keep consumers coming into dealerships.

“The ASX has proven itself,” he said. “It’s a good spec vehicle for what we’re offering, so I believe there will still be support for it.

“I think it’s become the Lancer of small SUVs. Is there a need to replace it? Right now, it ticks all the right boxes.”

Whether any ASX or Outlander variants are culled to help make some room for the Eclipse Cross remains to be seen.

“We’re not planning to at this stage,” Mr Signoriello said. “But of course, if we need to we will.”

What the next-generation ASX will look like remains a mystery, with some predictions suggesting that it will shrink in size closer to the CX-3 when the it comes on stream sometime after 2020 to help make room for the Eclipse Cross.

Currently both vehicles (as well as the Outlander) share the same GS platform architecture, as well as the same 2670mm wheelbase, revealing the C-segment footprint of the ASX compared to the B-segment sizing of most competitor small SUVs, explaining the interior space advantages of the Mitsubishi.

“The ASX will evolve but will it get smaller? I don’t know,” Mr Signoriello said. “Let’s see where it goes. And there is the mid-term plan to be announced in mid-October from Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and we’re looking forward to hearing what that is.”

Mitsubishi will reveal more details about the Eclipse Cross, including pricing, specification and possibly sales aspirations, closer to its launch in January.

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