In 2016, Nissan bought 34 per cent stake in Mitsubishi to become its largest shareholder and since then the market has been wondering in which direction the brand plans to move forward under new management.
Well, the wait is over and under the tagline ‘Drive for Growth’, Mitsubishi will launch 11 new models (including six full-model changes) under its three-year strategic plan released. The product plan will see its market effects around 2020 when new products on platforms shared with its new alliance partners, Nissan and Renault begin to roll out.
In terms of product portfolio, the brand will bank heavily on its SUV and pick-up line-up on one hand, as well as grow its electrified offerings in the next three years. Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance which now stands as the third-largest automotive group in the world by sales volume.
Mitsubishi has not provided details of which models will be replaced or updated. 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.
Mitsubishi is confident that by the end of the three-year plan, it expects to have five best-selling global models including a SUV, 4WD and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) to account for 70 per cent of total sales volume.
Meanwhile, the company will increase its research and development spend by 50 per cent, to ¥133 billion 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 markets. Among the early releases under the plan will be the Eclipse Cross SUV that goes on sale in some markets in mid-December, as well as the Xpander MPV that will be built in Indonesia and sold in ASEAN markets only.
Mitsubishi Motors executives believe the “Drive for Growth,” three-year strategic plan will help deliver sustained and profitable growth which includes targeting an increase of more than 30 per cent in both annual unit sales to 1.3 million vehicles and in revenues to 2.5 trillion yen. Besides that, Mitsubishi Motors aims to achieve an operating profit margin of 6 per cent or more by the end of fiscal 2019, up from 0.3 per cent in fiscal 2016. The plan combines a product renewal program with targeted market expansion and operating efficiency improvements.
Osamu Masuko, Mitsubishi Motors chief executive, said: “Drive for Growth is a new roadmap for Mitsubishi Motors. We will rebuild trust in our company as our highest priority, successfully launch new vehicles, and achieve a V-shaped financial recovery. These will be the foundations for our future sustainable growth, which will involve increased capital expenditure and product development spending.”