Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) has started 2011 strongly with sales from beginning of the year to end of February up 6.5 percent over the same period in 2010.
The Adelaide based company is gaining momentum this year with 10 models in its lineup. February saw the Mitsubishi Lancer finish as the tenth place best selling car, only 11 units short of the once mighty Ford Falcon.
The Japanese manufacturer has been realigning its direction to become the leader in electric vehicles (EV), having already beaten the rest in bringing the first EV to Australia with the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.
At a media event held in Brisbane today, Mitsubishi’s VP of brand and marketing, Paul Unerkov, told CarAdvice that the Tokyo based company is heading towards a future filled with electric and hybrid vehicles.
Mitsubishi aims to have a diesel, efficient petrol (with fuel saving technologies such as auto start/stop) and hybrid in all future models.
The i-MiEV is set to go on sale to the general public towards the middle of this year with selected Mitsubishi dealers having undergone training and other necessary adjustments to prepare for the launch.
Meanwhile, full details of the next generation Mitsubishi Lancer is still to be locked in with the company expected to refresh the current Lancer lineup later this year.
According to Mr Unerkov, the Global Small Car concept which was recently unveiled in Geneva will be a platform for more than just a hatchback. He also confirmed that the design was electric motor and hybrid friendly.
News today about the potential cancellation of the Lancer Evolution as a future model left fans hanging. Mr Unerkov told CarAdvice that no official decision had yet been made regarding the Evo XI but that Mitsubishi is shifting its focus with EVs being a very important part of Mitsubishi’s future.
Perhaps we will see a Lancer Evolution EV? It’s still too early to say but it will be unlikely that Mitsubishi will let the Evo nameplate die in the long run.
Mr Unerkov believes that Mitsubishi is well and truly ahead of the competition in the EV sector, stating that by the time other manufacturers (excluding Nissan) bring in first generation EVs, Mitsubishi would already be on looking at second generation EVs.
In any case, Mitsubishi’s reputation in Australia has been on a comeback since a low-point when the company ceased local manufacturing. Offering the best warranty in the business, the Japanese company is currently the seventh best selling manufacturer downunder.