As part of a bold transformation, dubbed Jump 2013, that could prove essential for the maker’s survival, Mitsubishi will kill off and replace its entire line-up of U.S.-made models, including the once-popular Eclipse coupe and Endeavor crossover.
An entirely new line of products will be launched to replace the outgoing models, promises CEO Osamu Masuko, who envisions the maker’s assembly line in Normal, Illinois, as a major export center.
Following the lead of other global makers, including Ford Motor Co., Mitsubishi will migrate to fewer flexible global platforms that can be used for a variety of models – both conventionally-powered and others using alternative propulsions systems, according to Masuko, who outlined the plan during a Japanese news conference today.
The Jump 2013 strategy has been a long time in coming and reflects the Japanese maker’s bid to reverse years of setbacks, particularly in the American market, where it has steadily lost ground over the last decade. From a peak for 345,000, sales tumbled to barely 50,000 in recent years. The numbers did rise 3%, to 55,683 last year, but while that was a much hoped-for increase, it lagged well behind the recovery of the overall U.S. market.