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Mitsubishi Lands New Outlander

Maker insists it’s committed to U.S. market.

by on Nov.30, 2012

Mitsubishi delivers a completely redesigned 3-row Outlander CUV.

You know a manufacturer is having trouble when it begins a news conference not with the unveiling of a new product but with a promise that it isn’t about to leave the market. But few were surprised by the approach taken when Mitsubishi’s U.S. chief executive opened things up at the LA Auto Show this week.

The Japanese maker has had some serious problems in recent years.  A flawed strategy aimed at bringing in young, first-time buyers backfired, running up $100s of millions in losses. And a number of recent products flopped, notably including the now-abandoned Eclipse sports coupe. In fact, Mitsubishi is all but starting over, walking away from a number of once-popular nameplates.

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Its problems were serious enough that only a major bailout kept the Japanese parent alive, in fact. Now, with Suzuki announcing plans to abandon the U.S. after years of crumbling sales, the spotlight is on Mitsubishi, many analysts predicting it could be next to give up on the market.

Not so fast, proclaimed CEO Yoichi Yokazawa, telling a crowd of journalists, “Mitsubishi is as committed to North America as ever,” before unveiling several products intended to help it regain some positive momentum.

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First Drive: Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE AWC

A lackluster vehicle from an automaker that seems more focused on the future than the present.

by on Aug.19, 2011

The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport shows Mitsubishi is more focused on its future products than its current lineup.

It’s a familiar tactic, one employed by automakers the world over. Instead of coming up with a new name to attach to its latest offering, the marketeers just use the name from another vehicle with some sort of appendage.

So, even though Mitsubishi’s new compact sport utility is mostly different from the company’s larger offering, it still gets the same name, Outlander. For the smaller ute, Mitsubishi adds “Sport” to the name.

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The Outlander Sport looks the part. Leading with Mitsubishi’s corporate “shark-nose” front end, the Sport has a decidedly taut design. Remember the days when forward-leaning front ends were the in design? Think Buick Century as well as generations of BMWs. That look gave way to the swept-back, aerodynamic look. But now, the forward lean is back. Even if it doesn’t seem aerodynamic, that’s an optical illusion because Mitsubishi claims a coefficient of drag of 0.33, which is rather remarkable for any sport ute, forward leaning snout or not.

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