By now nearly everyone watching alternative energy transportation knows Mitsubishi is long delayed bringing its Outlander plug-in hybrid to the U.S., but it is on its way and now, says the company, so is a smaller sized Outlander Sport PHEV.
Speaking with AutoGuide from the sidelines of the New York auto show last week, Mitsubishi Motors North America Executive Vice President Don Swearingen said the more-familiar – and now revised – plug-in Outlander will arrive in 2016’s first quarter.
Before that will arrive a sedan version of its non-hybrid fuel sipper, the Mirage. And following these arrivals Swearingen said the Outlander Sport plug-in hybrid (non-hybrid model shown above) will fill a space in which no automaker presently has a hybrid.
For that matter, the Outlander SUV itself is a vehicle type not offered by any automaker at present.
Instead, hybridization and plug-in hybridization has focused in the U.S. on making relatively efficient midsized, compact and subcompact vehicles more efficient, while the gas guzzlers largely go unattended.
But the case does exist for trucks: view what automakers report Americans are snapping up in higher volumes now that gas is temporarily – or permanently? – less costly.
Pickup, SUV and crossover sales have risen as hybrid sales have fallen as these are types of vehicles many Americans do want.
Last year the “father of the Chevy Volt,” Bob Lutz echoed a common sense theme when he conceded GM should have focused on plug-in trucks before it made the Volt, but reality is what it is.
Meanwhile, despite relatively weak market position as a company, Mitsubishi has managed to sell over 50,000 Outlander PHEVs in other markets – including Europe where GM has canceled the Volt-based Ampera due to lack of sufficient sales.
But soon enough, said Swearingen, the company which in April reported its 13th consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases will give Americans what they want.
“Clearly Mitsubishi is a smaller company so we have to do the business case on every model and it must show a value offer for our customers, a profit for us and our dealers, and if the business model doesn’t show that we’re not going to bring it to the U.S.,” he said to AutoGuide.
“We cannot have a failure,” he continued. “We have to make sure we study the market, we bring out competitive price vehicles that offer a value proposition, but also in a segment that we think there’s enough volume.”