Crossovers and Plug-in Hybrid Variants Could Be Mitsubishi’s Hope for its Recovery in the US

An overview of troubled Japanese automaker Mitsubishi suggests crossovers with plug-in hybrid variants could bring it back from its fuel economy reporting scandal which broke in March.

With the U.S. being its largest global market, Mitsubishi’s product lineup in this market may set the agenda overall for the Japanese automaker, according to the piece by Automotive News.

Sales were up 4.2 percent in the U.S. market through July, with consumers choosing SUVs over cars. Mitsubishi is investing less in car models, such as the Mirage and Lancer, and betting more on crossovers like the Outlander and XR.

More will be known in October when Nissan’s 34-percent stake in Mitsubishi is finalized. While Mitsubishi has been committing to rolling out plug-in models in the past few years, the Nissan alliance could bring more weight to that commitment through sharing technologies.

An example of this could be the i-MiEV, which Mitsubishi will continue into the 2017 model year even with its low sales. Details on the next version of the i-MiEV have yet to be released. Automotive News speculates the next i-MiEV could be a crossover with components coming from Nissan’s second-generation Leaf.

The Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid (PHEV) crossover SUV has been delayed in the U.S. market for the fifth time until next summer. It has been a top selling plug-in model in the European market, with its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a pair of electric motors. Automotive News says that a redesigned Outlander should arrive in 2019. The refreshed Outlander Sport may be set to debut in the spring of 2018 as a 2019 model.

SEE ALSO: Mitsubishi’s Big Green Plans on Hold

Mitsubishi’s new XR crossover model will probably be launched as a 2018 model, perhaps shown at the Geneva auto show with a 2017 roll out. It will come out either with a new 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine; or it could be offered with a plug-in hybrid version built on the Outlander PHEV powertrain.

Automotive News