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Ghosn Rules Out Full Nissan-Mitsubishi Merger

Mitsu needs to “reform itself.”

by on Apr.28, 2017

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is expected to translate into a new production crossover.

While Nissan has taken a controlling stake in long-troubled Mitsubishi and replaced most of the smaller maker’s key managers, don’t expect to see a full merger of the two companies.

Instead, expect to see the two companies expand their ties – which is likely to mean more platform sharing, as well as the joint development and use of electrified powertrain technology.

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“Full merger is not on the table. We want Mitsubishi to reform itself,” said Carlos Ghosn, the Nissan Chairman who recently took on that same post at the smaller company.


Mitsubishi the Latest to Slash EV Pricing

Maker cuts i-MiEV battery car price by 20%.

by on Dec.04, 2013

Mitsubishi is cutting the price of its 2014 i-MiEV battery-electric vehicle by 20%.

Mitsubishi plans to drop the price of its little i-MiEV battery-electric vehicle by an “astonishing” 20%, making it the latest manufacturer to cut battery-car pricing in a bid to charge up demand.

Electric vehicle sales have been lagging well behind expectations this year in part, analysts say, due to declining gasoline costs that have made it less attractive to buy hybrids, plug-ins and full battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs. In fact, a new study of nearly 1,100 potential battery-car buyers indicates high pricing, rather than low range, is the single-biggest obstacle to building demand for the technology.

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A wide range of manufacturers, including Ford, Nissan and Chevrolet, have already trimmed their prices this year and there are signs that has helped turn on more potential buyers. (more…)

Renault-Nissan Alliance to Partner Up with Mitsubishi

Team of three may develop small car to sell globally.

by on Nov.05, 2013

Nissan/Renault is considering adding a third partner: Mitsubishi, according to Carlos Ghosn.

The long-running alliance between French automaker Renault and Japan’s Nissan could soon get a little bit larger as the partners explore a possible tie-up with another Japanese maker, Mitsubishi Motors.

The proposed alliance would cover a number of different product segments and include the development of new electric vehicles, an emerging market niche into which Renault and Nissan have already invested billions of dollars to develop and produce vehicles like the Leaf battery-electric vehicle.

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“Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors have jointly benefited from several collaborations in the past,” noted Carlos Ghosn, who serves as CEO at both Nissan and Renault. “I welcome the direction being taken towards this broader cooperation, creating new opportunities for Renault in addition to further leveraging the productive relationship between Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors.”   (more…)

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.


Who’ll Follow Mercury Onto the Automotive Rust Heap?

There are plenty of other troubled brands.

by on Jun.03, 2010

If the 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander doesn't turn things around for the troubled brand its fate, at least in the U.S., will be decidedly uncertain.

Remember Packard?  Or Plymouth?  How about Eagle or Oldsmobile?

A search of the automotive morgue yields the name of more than 800 different brand names that have vanished from the U.S. market alone over the last century.  Some, like Packard and Olds, were immensely popular in their day, the latter General Motors division generating sales of more than a million as recently as the early-1980s.  Others, like Chrysler’s Eagle, were ill-conceived ventures that were given mercifully little time before being pulled from the market.

As Ford’s announcement that it will finally pull 71-year-old Mercury off life support underscores, the ongoing automotive sales crisis has led to the demise of more automotive brands than at any time since the Great Depression.  The question, analysts ask, is whether still more nameplates could vanish in the coming years?

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Is there room for a Suzuki, Mitsubishi or Saab, as well as Ram and Fiat?

(Click Here for more on Mercury’s demise. More on vanishing brands on the next page.)


IIHS Top Safety Picks Rejects Five Automakers

BMW, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Saab and Toyota absent from list.

by on Nov.18, 2009


Front or side impacts and rollovers killed 24,056 vehicle occupants in 2008.

Nineteen cars and eight SUVs earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick award for 2010 it was announced today. For the first time, good performance in a roof strength test to measure protection in a rollover is required to win.

These winners have safety performance that far exceeds U.S. Government requirements.

Top Safety Pick recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rear, and now rollover crashes based on good ratings in Institute tests. Winners also must have electronic stability control, which research shows significantly reduces crash risk. This is the second time the Institute has tightened criteria since announcing the first recipients in 2005.

Front and side impacts and rollovers killed 24,056 passenger vehicle occupants in 2008. Rear-end crashes usually aren’t fatal but result in a large proportion of crash injuries. Neck sprain or strain is the most commonly reported injury in two-thirds of insurance claims for injuries in all kinds of crashes.

The Institute awarded the first Top Safety Pick winners to 2006 models and then changed its rating the next year by requiring good rear test results and electronic stability control as either standard or optional equipment.

Early this year the Institute alerted auto manufacturers to the new criteria for roof crush and asked them to nominate candidates for testing. The Institute has been criticized for the limited number of test it runs because a chance occurrence can drastically alter results, but not for its methodology.

Subaru is the only manufacturer with a winner in all four of the vehicle classes where it competes. Subaru earned five awards for 2010. Ford and subsidiary Volvo have six winners. Volkswagen and Audi have five. Chrysler earned four awards, which the Institute said continued a trend of improving the crashworthiness of its vehicles. Two new small cars, the Nissan Cube and Kia Soul, join the Top Safety Pick list for 2010.

Not a single model from the world’s biggest automaker by sales is represented among this year’s winners. Toyota and its Lexus and Scion subsidiaries had a strong showing in 2009 with 11 winners but were shut out for 2010.

Four other manufacturers whose vehicles have earned Top Safety Pick in the past didn’t have a qualifying vehicle for 2010: BMW, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Saab.


Sneak Peak: Mitsubishi Outlander GT Prototype

When does a crossover morph back into a station wagon?

by on Apr.10, 2009

“The grille is for somebody who wants a little more attitude and not a silly wide mouthed grin.”

“The grille is for somebody who wants a little more attitude and not a silly, wide-mouthed grin.”

When the next version of the Outlander crossover vehicle arrives it will have more performance, higher fuel economy and a new exterior design that in my view moves it back towards a tall station wagon look. The styling of the prototype unveiled at the New York International Auto Show was billed as an “aggressive” new design inspired by Mitsubishi’s own Lancer family of automotive products. It is also the latest attempt by Mitsubishi to sharpen its image after a decade of confusion.

Mitsubishi says that its designers sought to create a “dynamic and athletic presence by utilizing new materials and a wider stance.” A “jet fighter” look grille, from the Lancer Evolution model, is added to introduce the reshaped front bumper, side mirrors, fenders and hood. One happy byproduct of the new body style is a reduction in the coefficient of drag. Revised Bi-Xenon High Intensity Discharge headlamps also lend a different appearance.          

The fully polished aluminum roof is, for once, a real touch. It is actually painted over on all existing Outlander models. The use of the lightweight material is an attempt by Mitsubishi to reduce the tolling tendencies of the high center of gravity that SUVs, CUVs or tall station wagons all exhibit — no matter what you call them. Fortunately, electronic controls are now in extensive use throughout the industry to stop this potentially life-taking phenomenon.

In Mitsubishi’s current search for identity, marketing executives think that by emphasizing its off-road and rally racing background, and promoting all-wheel-drive sophistication that enough buyers will show up to keep its 420 dealers in business. Slightly lower, and employing a shorter and stiffer suspension than the current production Outlander, the GT Prototype has a racing look with its 19-inch OZ Racing wheels and large Brembo brakes.

And it’s not surprising that the four-wheel drive system is called, S-AWC or “super all wheel control,” with claims of increased handling, traction and stability, (against unspecified competitors) while still maintaining “maximum” fuel economy. With a limited-slip differential and an electronically-controlled four-wheel-drive coupling, S-AWC can prevent wheel slip between front-to-rear and side-to-side to enhance tire grip. Three selectable S-AWC modes are available on the Outlander GT Prototype, including Normal,  Snow, and Traction. (more…)