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Tokyo show: Global models promised from Mitsubishi

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.

Australia to receive ‘most, if not all’ three remaining Mitsubishi model updates

Mitsubishi logo30 Oct 2017

By TUNG NGUYEN in TOKYO

THE remaining three models from Mitsubishi’s promised six-product roll-out over the next three years are expected to be offered in Australian showrooms despite only one of the first half – the Eclipse Cross – being made available Down Under.

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation chief operating officer Trevor Mann told Australian journalists at the Tokyo motor show that most of the upcoming, yet-to-be-revealed models to follow on from the aforementioned Eclipse Cross SUV, Indonesian market-specific Xpander people-mover and Japan’s electric ‘kei’ car will hit Australian showrooms.

“The six that we’ve talked about, you should see most, if not all because what we try to define in terms of our plan going forward is that we recognise and focus on what we believe is a core car,” he said.

“So there are two types of core car, there’s global core – which is obvious.

“Vehicles like Triton, Outlander, ASX, Eclipse Cross because they will go to over 80 markets. We’ve got to make sure those cars work for us and we maximise the benefits of those cars.

“And then you would have, what is a regional core. I think regional core falls into two categories –probably ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations), Oceania a little bit and Japan – so we’ve got to look after our domestic market hence the kei car.”

Mr Mann revealed that going forward, Mitsubishi would avoid the long product life cycle of models such as the Lancer small car and ASX crossover, which have been in production since 2007 and 2010 respectively.

“We’re looking at making sure we are doing two things in our plan, making sure we have a firm product and life cycle plan for those core vehicles … and that we also keep them fairly fresh,” he said.

“As you know, based on our history, some of the lifecycles have been a bit extended, and some of the actions within the life and death of that vehicle, in terms of minor changes and announcements and refreshments, I think we can improve.

“So throughout the mid-term plan, that’s what we’re really focusing on doing.

The intent is to have at least one product action in every market, every year.

“What I would ideally like to see is, you launch a model, you obviously have a model year minor change, model year, full model change – to me would be an ideal cycle.”

Both the Lancer, which will cease production in Japan by year’s end, and ASX, which received an update last month, are unlikely candidates to fill the remaining three ‘full-model-change’ slots, leaving space open for the Outlander crossover, Mirage light car, Pajero SUV, Triton workhorse and related Pajero Sport.

However, the next-generation Outlander is already confirmed to be developed in partnership with Nissan’s X-Trail, as Mr Mann indicated the upcoming three models were planned before the brand’s entrance into the Renault-Nissan alliance last year.

Similarly, the future of the Pajero large SUV appears to be undecided as Mr Mann revealed plans for the future of the off-roader were still unclear.

By process of elimination then, at least one of the updated models is expected to be the Triton one-tonne ute, which is rumoured to share development and a platform with all alliance member pick-ups including the Nissan Navara and Renault Alaskan.

Mr Mann said however, with its smaller size and budget compared with other manufacturers, Mitsubishi has been to be cautious when developing new vehicles.

“In a brand our size and with how much of our revenue we recycle again into the R&D, that has not been possible in the past, but that’s our intent going forward,” he said.

“Which is why, in parallel, we’ve increased the percentage of our revenues which we are going to utilise in our R&D so we can keep our products more fresh, we can keep them more compliant … and we can keep making sure we’ve got, as a brand, something to talk about and a reason for people to come into our showrooms.”

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