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Mitsubishi Takes Last Shot, Names New US Chairman

Will maker follow Suzuki out of the American market?

by on Nov.06, 2012

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is among the few new models coming anytime soon.

Mitsubishi Motors has named a new chairman for its struggling U.S. subsidiary, the first time that post has been filled since 2007 when the Japanese-owned maker was struggling for survival.

With 35 years in at the maker, Gayu Uesugi appears to carry the credentials needed in his new post, having worked at Mitsubishi’s Japanese headquarters overseeing product strategy and development and cost control.  The maker let costs run out of control over the past decade – in part with an ill-conceived marketing strategy that saw thousands of young buyers get a year’s free use of Mitsubishi products before handing the keys back to the company.

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With its U.S. market share at less than a half percent, analysts warn that Mitsubishi cannot long sustain a presence in the States without a major breakthrough.  The alternative would be to follow the example set by American Suzuki which has declared bankruptcy and will now stop selling cars in the U.S. market.


Suzuki Determined to Remain in U.S. Market

Reports of imminent departure greatly exaggerated.

by on Feb.10, 2011

Sales may be slow, but those who have bought the Suzuki Kizashi rate it highly.

Suzuki has no intention of withdrawing from the U.S. automotive market.

“That’s a very bad rumor,” Kinji “Kevin” Saito, the president of American Suzuki Motor Corp., told during an exclusive interview at the Chicago Auto Show.

Suzuki suffered badly during  the recession as its sales total plunged sharply for two consecutive year – despite the launch of significant new product, such as the midsize Kizashi sedan.  But the start of the new model-year in October brought a revival of its fortunes.

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Suzuki has every intention of remaining in the American market, Saito said, over dinner, and believes there are plenty of drivers in the midsize segment who appreciate the firm handling, sporty feel and power of the Kizashi sedan.

The Kizashi, which Suzuki brought to market in 2009, can still outperform either the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, which have traditionally dominated in the mid-sized segment, the small Japanese maker believes. Suzuki’s goal is to find buyers who want a more sporty feel in their vehicle than with those mainstream models, Saito said.