As of 2010, Mitsubishi Australia had sold or exported a total of around 2.2 million vehicles. In its 30 years of existence down under, the Japanese company has produced over 900,000 cars locally (of which about 180,000 have been exported). The Mitsubishi Lancer remains the most popular car on our roads with 337,000+ examples of the small car registered for use in Australia as of the 2010 census.
Speaking to the automotive press in Canberra yesterday, Mitsubishi Australia President and CEO, Genichiro Nishina, said the local “factory closure was a source of regret even though it was a sound financial decision”. His words are in reference to Mitsubishi Australia’s recent performance, which saw an all time sales record in 2010.
By the end of 2006, about 14 months before the company announced the closure of its local operations, Mitsubishi was selling about 54,000 vehicles in Australia per year. 2011 will see the Japanese giant sell around 65,000 units, despite the negative impact of the Japanese tsunami. In fact, Mitsubishi’s 2011 sales are down only 2.4% compared to last year and better than the 3.7% industry average downturn for this year.
Nishina believes the “current market environment is extremely competitive” and that other brands “sacrifice profit in attempt to achieve volume target”. He is steering Mitsubishi towards a business model that is sustainable, with an outlook for the long term.
2012 will see Mitsubishi launch a number of all new models in Australia as well as numerous model year updates and limited editions.
Eight new electric vehicles are expected to join the lineup by 2015 with several hybrid vehicles to be unveiled during the course of 2012. The company’s all-new light car will be revealed at the Tokyo Motorshow late November and Mitsubishi is expected to begin pre-release of other models over the coming months.
Nishina said “despite all the loom and gloom, the Australian economy remains one of the strongest in the world so there is still plenty of opportunities”.
Mitsubish is launching 30th anniversary editions of the Lancer, Outlander, ASX, Pajero, Triton and Challenger. Numerous updates to MY12 models have also been carried out, with the introduction of a reversing camera (via the rearview mirror) available across the range. The company’s all-electric i-MiEV has found ten buyers since its launch in September.
CarAdvice will be at the Tokyo motorshow late next month to bring you live coverage of Mitsubishi’s latest models.