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Mitsubishi to launch 11 new models in three years

X-factor: Out of the first three models as part of Mitsubishi’s three-year plan, only the Eclipse Cross (below) will land in Australia as the Xpander (left) will be offered in Indonesia only and an electric kei car will be restricted to Japan.

Six full-model changes and other updates in Mitsubishi’s three-year plan

Mitsubishi logo19 Oct 2017

By TIM NICHOLSON

MITSUBISHI will launch 11 new models, including six full-model changes, under its three-year strategic plan released yesterday.

Dubbed Drive for Growth, the plan will see the company out to about 2020 when Mitsubishi will start rolling out new products on platforms shared with its new alliance partners, Nissan and Renault.

In October last year, Nissan Motor Company bought a 34 per cent stake in Mitsubishi to become its largest shareholder, effectively forming the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance which now stands as the third-largest automotive group in the world by sales volume.

As expected, the Japanese car-maker plans to strengthen its SUV and pick-up portfolio, as well as grow its electrified offerings in the next three years.

Six of the 11 new models will be “entirely new model changes”, with an average of two a year, and the remainder will be “important” updates of existing models.

Mitsubishi has not provided details of which models will be replaced or updated, but it is believed that more information will be forthcoming at next week’s Tokyo motor show.

It is also understood that some of the updates to existing models will include substantial updates to sheet metal.

The alliance confirmed in September that all three brands will share platforms from about 2020. These include the CMF platform that already underpins the Nissan Qashqai and X-Trail and Renault Megane, with a plan for more than nine million vehicles to be built across four common platforms by 2022, compared with two million vehicles across the two shared platforms in the alliance last year.

Mitsubishi said that by the end of the three-year plan, it expected its five best-selling global models “consisting of SUV, 4WD and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) to account for 70 per cent of total sales volume”.

It will also roll out electrified versions “across its core model range” in the next three years, and while Mitsubishi gave no details of those models, they are unlikely to include the Triton pick-up.

Mitsubishi will produce a fully electric ‘kei’ car for the Japanese market, which could go some way to rebuilding the company’s reputation in its home country following its admission in April last year that it had manipulated the fuel economy test results of 625,000 kei cars it builds for itself and Nissan.

It will increase its research and development spend by 50 per cent, to ¥133 billion ($A1.5bn) by 2020, and contribute expertise in LCVs, SUVs, plug-in hybrid technology and strengths in the ASEAN region to the alliance.

The product refresh coincides with an expansion in the ASEAN, US, Chinese, Japanese and Oceania – which includes Australia – markets.

One of the first new models under the plan will be the Eclipse Cross SUV that goes on sale in Australia in mid-December, as well as the Xpander MPV that will be built in Indonesia and sold in ASEAN markets only.

Mitsubishi Motors chief executive Osamu Masuko said the car-maker’s highest priorities were to rebuild trust and ensure a successful financial recovery.

“This is an ambitious program to maximise our strengths in growing product segments, especially four-wheel drive, and to pursue growth in markets where our brand has strong potential, particularly the ASEAN region,” he said.

“This growth program will also involve an efficient and disciplined operating structure as we continue to manage costs.

“We are refreshing our product line-up, investing in R&D and targeting core market growth,” he added. “Drive for Growth will enable us to continue the transformation of the company over the next three years.”

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