The resurrection of Mitsubishi Motors Corp. begins with a plan that calls for a 30% increase in sales during the next three years, coming in three major markets: China, the U.S. and Japan, its home market.
The recovery in Japan may be most difficult since the company was rocked by a mileage cheating scandal that ultimately led to the takeover by Nissan Motor Co. The new plan is the result of that new partnership.
Getting to those markers will be tough, but an improved product portfolio will help and the company’s put in place some ambitious investment plans for its research and development as well as capital spending.
“This is an aggressive mid-term plan. Our highest priority is to rebuild trust in our company,” Mitsubishi Chief Executive Osamu Masuko told a news conference.
“We must be careful not to become overconfident or careless about our reforms, so as not to derail our recovery,” he said.
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The smallest of Japan’s major automakers, Mitsubishi expects to boost sales 50 in Southeast Asia, doubling its results in China during that time. It also expects to improve U.S. sales by at least a third. That may the easiest goal of the three-legged plan as the company does have some name recognition and its sales have been steady this year.
If Mitsubishi can hit its 30% increase that will equate to 1.3 million vehicles. However, it’s going to need more than just a plan, it’ll need an expanded portfolio of vehicles hitting dealers in those markets.
During the next three years, Mitsubishi expects to introduce 11 models, six of which will either be model changes or entirely new models. The company will also not be entirely left out of the movement to electric vehicles, pledging to debut a battery-electric SUV and electric minicar in Japan sometime after 2020.
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For a company that was teetering on the brink of collapse not all that long ago, it’s an aggressive agenda, and an expensive one too. Fortunately, being part of the larger Nissan-Renault Alliance will help in that department.
Mitsubishi expects to find cost savings of nearly $900 million during the next three years due to development and procurement efficiencies, according to Reuters. However, a black cloud seems to be following Mitsubishi around.
As its readies to implement the plan, it’s also having to deal with new reports of data scandals. However, this time it’s outside the company. Kobe Steel recently admitted it has been falsifying data on product quality and other metrics.
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Masuko said that tests conducted on aluminum hoods supplied by Kobe Steel had shown no safety issues, adding that Mitsubishi was continuing to investigate parts procured by suppliers which contain materials affected by the issue.