Don’t expect to see traditional coupes or sedans return any time soon.
Mitsubishi will continue to focus on crossovers and SUVs in the U.S., so don’t expect to see traditional cars any time soon, aside from the Mirage. That’s simply a reflection of current American car-shopping trends, Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) executives said at a presentation in Detroit.
“We are definitely focusing our future on crossovers, for sure,” said Nate Berg, senior manager for product planning. “The majority of our sales will be CUVs.”
That’s not necessarily a surprising move given that sales of traditional cars are falling across all brands, while crossovers and SUVs seem to be on an inexorable increase.
“That C and D segment is just not a profitable segment,” said Don Swearingen, MMNA executive vice president, referring to the segments of cars like the Honda Civic and Honda Accord, respectively. “We’re seeing declines even in the Mirage [subcompact] segment.”
Swearingen pointed to the fact that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles canceled its sedans (Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200), as well as to recent reports that the Ford Fusion might not be renewed. He also noted that selling sedans in those classes tends to be expensive in terms of advertising dollars and price incentives.
And as to a two-door car, like the original Eclipse?
“The coupe market is a very small market,” said Berg. “We don’t see a lot of potential there.”
Still, Mitsubishi’s focus on profitable crossovers has proven to be a solid one so far. The company just reported its fifth straight year of U.S. sales growth, with crossover volume up 15 percent year-over-year in 2017. The company is launching two new crossovers, too: The Outlander PHEV is in dealers now, while the Eclipse Cross will be on sale by March.
“It’s a great time to be in the [crossover] segment,” said Swearingen.
Unfortunately, the company’s focus on those models means that Mitsubishi is unlikely to make any other major vehicle introductions in the U.S. this year.
“Pretty much these two vehicles are what we’re focusing on for 2018,” said Berg.