Mitsubishi Aims to Double U.S. Sales

April 17, 2019 at 2:11 PM

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. plans to double its U.S. sales in coming years through the introduction of new vehicles and expanding its dealer network, Fred Diaz, who heads the company’s North American operations, tells reporters.  

The carmaker sold 118,100 cars in the U.S. last year. This was up 14% over 2017 levels but still only amounts to about one-third of MMC’s record 345,000-unit tally in 2002. Year-over-year sales have jumped another 18% through March 42.000 units, which is MMC’s best first quarter since 2004.

Diaz says the company will add new models from its alliance with Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. over the next two years. The rollout will include entering new product segments and replacing aging models such as the Outlander and Outlander Sport SUVs.  

In addition, Diaz says MMC is adding dealers in major markets that will give the brand more than 90% coverage across the country. MMC currently has 367 dealers that only reach about 60% of the U.S. Diaz points to Houston, where MMC only has three dealers, as an example of where the company can grow. No timeframe was given for the planned expansion.

Diaz, who was appointed CEO of Mitsubishi Motors Americas a year ago, also is working to improve relations with current dealers. He acknowledges that the company made mistakes and broke many promises in the past, dating back to its affiliation with Chrysler and Daimler Chrysler in the 1990s.

The company’s reputation also suffered under the ill-conceived zero-zero-zero incentive scheme in the early 2000s. Diaz characterizes the program, which allowed customers to buy a vehicle with no money down, with zero interest and no payments for a full year, a “race to the bottom.”