Looking to the future, Mitsubishi revealed a mid-term business plan in December 2013, entitled “New Stage 2016”. (1)
The first stage of this plan involves the launching of what the brand calls its “new range of strategic models” – relating to its pick-ups, SUVs and crossover models, which are essentially revenue gatherers for the company.
Mitsubishi’s current flag bearer – the L200/Triton pick-up will launch later this year. The Pajero/Shogun Sport will be unleashed in 2015, followed by a new RVR/ASX/Outlander Sport, Delica D:5 MPV for the Asian market, followed by all-new compact and large SUV plug-in hybrids – yet to be officially named.
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is targeting a sales volume of 1.4 million units globally, which represents growth of approximately 30 per cent compared to the same point the previous year. Whether this can be achieved remains to be seen, however.
MMC will also continue to develop next-generation technology in the future, this being their second-most important priority, behind the strategic model sales. This new technology will be focused on “environmental responsibility, driving pleasure and safety”, according to the brand.
The Japanese manufacturer is focusing ultimately on electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, stating in their mind that these are the future. MMC says they will play a crucial role in complying with environmental regulations and which are being strengthened. The company has gone on record stating it aims to increase production of EVs and PHEVs to 20 per cent by 2020 and be the leading manufacturer in electric vehicle technology. Bold statement from the firm.
However, it will be interesting to see how the company overcomes the shortfalls of electric vehicle technology, such as the current woeful recharging times, the expensive costs, increasing the range of vehicles to make them function better in the ‘real world’, the weight of heavy materials currently being used, and cooling problems – which Mitsubishi has already experienced trouble with on its Outlander PHEVs and i-MiEV vehicles in 2010 (see strengths and weaknesses blog). Along with the issue and potential safety hazard of the lack of noise these EVs emit, and the competition from rival car makers producing hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles and their version of EVs, it will be interesting to see how it unfolds in the future.
As discovered, the brand hasn’t mentioned pursuing hydrogen fuel-cell technology. In my opinion, I think this could be a mistake for MMC, as although hydrogen fuel-cell technology is arguably more in its infancy than EV technology, the hydrogen fuel-cell drive system is known technology and is reliable, the infrastructure can be put in place similar to that of internal combustion fuel stations and HFCs are abundant. However, the perceived downsides are that you can’t see any flames, the storage is potentially difficult and it’s energy intensive.
On the performance front, Mitsubishi has strongly hinted that a special edition Mitsubishi Lancer Evo will likely be sold in the UK later this year, to celebrate the company’s 40th anniversary European celebrations. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X was discontinued in the UK in 2012, due to unfavourable exchange rates with the Yen. However, if the exchange rates are positive and its financially viable, Mitsubishi UK has said they will go through with it… (2)