Mitsubishi is not one of the industry’s really big players, nor is it the one with the deepest pockets. In fact, given the resources at its disposal you could say the Japanese automaker’s results verge on the miraculous.
Its success comes despite a lineup that is aging even as its models show regularly refreshed faces. The Outlander was last substantially overhauled 10 years ago, and though it has gotten esthetic updates since we’re still talking about a vehicle that’s basically the same as it was a decade ago. But what the model did get was a plug-in hybrid version that gave it a massive boost.
The RVR is similarly aging, the current version having debuted in 2011. A comprehensive visual makeover has created the impression it is now very new, but it still lacks the in-depth overhaul it needs.
That leaves the Eclipse Cross, but its relative modernity can’t mask the fact that it’s not generally considered to be the eighth wonder of the world in the industry.
And yet, the automaker has just racked up its best sales year ever in Canada. How to explain it?
First, here is what the numbers tell us.
In 2019, Mitsubishi sold 25,535 vehicles in Canada, up 298 units in comparison with the 25,237 units it sold in 2018. It’s the third straight year the Japanese manufacturer sees sales rise in our market.
The company attributes this performance to the success of the RVR, which as mentioned benefited from some esthetic updates this year, as well as of the Outlander PHEV. That model saw its sales increase by 1.2% this year in comparison with an already-stellar performance last year.
The company sold 7,463 RVR models and 5,101 Eclipse Cross models in 2019. The Outlander remained the brand’s top seller with 10,701 units. As for the Mirage, it attracted 2,270 buyers convinced it was a smart buy.
“Mitsubishi Motors continues on its transformation to bring new value to its customers with SUVs focused on technology, innovation and Super All-Wheel Control. With enhancements to the retail experience, product and service, we look forward to a strong 2020.
- Paul Simmonds, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada
There’s cause for continued optimism in 2020 as well: in December, sales of Mitsubishi vehicles actually dropped by 29%, leaving the possibility that an avoidance of such a dip in 2020 could lead to another record year.
So what’s in the company’s secret sauce?
Actually there’s no big secret when it comes to Mitsubishi’s products. First of all, while they aren’t the most modern vehicles on the market, they are justly renowned for their great reliability. What’s more the manufacturer’s 10-year powertrain warranty is a big selling point for many consumers.
You can add to that the unique place held on the market by the Outlander plug-in hybrid variant, plus the fact that the regular versions continues, like few others, to offer a V6 engine (and the substantial towing capacity that comes with it).
As well, in terms of value, we’ve seen much worse offered on the market over the years.
And so it is that Mitsubishi has performed some minor miracles with the resources it has to work with. That said, sooner or later (probably the former), it will need a big helping hand, because minor miracles only get you so far.
The Alliance with Renault and Nissan will eventually bear fruit… no?