Mitsubishi might have hit a bump on its road to recovery in the US markets.
The newly imposed import tariffs by the Trump administration comes as a bit of a bad news for the company which shut down its last manufacturing plant in the US in 2016.
However, COO Trevor Mann insisted that the company was well placed to weather a trade storm. In spite of being a pure importer now, Mitsubishi’s growth in the US market plays a key role. Mann stated that the company was optimistic about its growth in the coming years and that it had planned a new wave of products from 2020 onwards.
The brand is also expected to undertake improvements of its existing product line-up such as the top-selling Outlander crossover and other vehicles
Meanwhile, the brand is also expected to undertake improvements of its existing product line-up such as the top-selling Outlander crossover and other vehicles that incorporate platforms and engines from Mustibushi’s alliance partners Renault and Nissan. According to Mann, the redesigns would boost the brand appeal and help shield sales from tariffs.
Post-2020, Mann also hinted at localizing the production of its vehicles in the US again, stating that a US manufacturing footprint would help insulate the brand from long-term tariff damage.
“It’s not going to be a corporate disaster for us,” Mann said of tariffs. “The impact on us would be less than on many other brands. It’s a bump in the road that we’re going to have to repair.”
Despite its limited presence in the US, Mitsubishi has prioritized the North American market as a ‘focus’ in its mid-term business plan.
Despite its limited presence in the US, Mitsubishi has prioritized the North American market as a 'focus' in its mid-term business plan.
In the fiscal year ending in March 2020, Mitsubishi hopes to lift North Americal sales by 23 per cent to 190,000 vehicles. This would outpace the global target of 18 per cent growth to 1.3 million vehicles.
The optimism by the company is substantiated by its July sales which surged 23 per cent to 77,277 vehicles.
“Mitsubishi was a bit of a sleeping giant. As a brand, we have great potential,” said Mann, who was dispatched to Mitsubishi from Nissan after Nissan’s 2016 acquisition of a controlling stake. “I think we’re demonstrating that we’re waking up.”
Apart from that, the Japanese company has also been working with local dealers as well as its financial partners in the US in order to streamline the loan process. Mann also stated a review of the carmaker’s incentive program.
Mitsubishi which had a total of 353 outlets at the end of June in the US, wants 10 more by the end of next March.