Mitsubishi Motors North America EVP Don Swearingen says the brand has big expectations for 2018.

Mitsubishi emerged from 2017 as the fastest growing non-luxury brand and is pushing into 2018 with momentum thanks to a combination of new product, new advertising that has elevated the brand’s visibility in the U.S. and the support of the Renault-Nissan-Alliance.

“2017 was a challenging year for the industry, however, Mitsubishi was able to defy the trend and prove that it has the right products at the right time,” said Don Swearingen, executive vice president and chief operating officer, MMNA.

Swearingen, however, noted during a press gathering in Detroit on the eve of the North American International Auto Show that Mitsubishi’s CUV line-up posted banner sales, up 15% over 2016.

“Customer demand for these vehicles is as high as it has ever been due to a combination of style, technology, performance and value,” he added.

(Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi creates $1B investment fund. Click Here for the story.)

The new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is helping to draw new buyers to the Japanese brand.

With the start of the new year, Mitsubishi is coming off its fifth consecutive calendar year sales increase with total sales for the year up 7.7% compared with 2016 in an industry that saw a decline of 1.8% compared to 2016, noted Francine Harsini, MMNA director of marketing.

By doing so, Mitsubishi Motors became the fastest growing non-luxury brand in the Unites States in 2017, Harsini noted.

“While we’re excited for the success the brand achieved in 2017, we’re hitting the ground running in 2018 with the launch of two new CUVs,” said Swearingen.

The new Outlander Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle just began shipping to our dealers, and the all-new Eclipse Cross will arrive in showrooms in March. These two new vehicles, combined with the Outlander and Outlander Sport will give Mitsubishi a family of CUVs that is unmatched in the industry.”

Swearingen said the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV delivers SUV capabilities and EV fuel economy, features a highly efficient 2.0-liter gas engine and two high-performance electric motors, along with Mitsubishi’s superior Super All-Wheel Control system.

(Click Here for details about the Alliance’s $200M tech fund.)

In March, the all-new 2018 Eclipse Cross will join the CUV line-up and it will be positioned in between the Outlander Sport and Outlander. A compact CUV, the Eclipse Cross is a fusion of sharp coupe looks and dynamic SUV mobility with signature Mitsubishi styling, technology and driving confidence.

Mitsubishi joined the Renault-Nissan alliance a little more than a year ago and the change has given the automaker an enormous lift, Harsini said.

The alliance with Renault-Nissan has boosted the spirits of dealers, given the company more clout while buying ads and within three years Mitsubishi expects new products, developed by the alliance, will start showing up in Mitsubishi showrooms around the country.

(To check out our first drive in the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Click Here.)

The first product from the alliance will roll out in 2020 as 2021 model, Swearingen said. At the same, time the company will be sharing its plug-in hybrid technology with Nissan. In turn, Renault-Nissan will provide Mitsubishi with battery-electric vehicles.

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