Mitsubishi Motors Australia (MMAL) broke its quarter-one import sales record this year.
That means that, across the first three months of 2015, it registered more cars than any other year since it became a full importer in 2008 upon the closure of its South Australian factory.
VFACTS figures released this week show that it registered 16,629 new vehicles between January and March, with 6307 of those delivered last month. This quarterly figure is up 16.7 per cent on 2014.
Say what you will about its ageing product line-up…
In fact, the result is the company’s best since 2003, when it registered 16,648 vehicles. The company’s best performance in the recent past was the 20,604 it sold in Q1, 1998, when the Magna was flying off the lots.
The result puts the company sixth for the year, 227 ahead of a struggling Ford.
The star of the show is the Triton ute, which in this generation is powering along to denouement. A new-generation version launches at the end of this month, but the outgoing model has been more sharply priced than ever.
A favourite with private buyers, the Triton 4x4 racked up 4947 deliveries over Q1 (up 81 per cent), though the 4x2 dropped 25 per cent to 1015. In March, the 4x4 version even beat the Toyota HiLux — a rare occurrence indeed.
Capitalising on the boom in small SUVs was the ASX, with 3161 Q1 deliveries (up 76 per cent). The Pajero workhorse grew 38 per cent to 1374, while the Triton-based Challenger wagon was up 18 per cent to 660.
Finally, the Outlander capped off MMAL’s strong SUV performance by growing 20 per cent to 2018 units. Like the Triton, the Outlander will be replaced this month, albeit by a facelifted model rather than a new one.
In the passenger space it was a little less exciting for the company. The Mirage hatch plummeted almost 70 per cent to 919, though the new sedan added 470 incremental sales.
The Lancer range meanwhile dropped 6 per cent to 2065 (for Q1), though the small-car segment as a whole has dropped at the same rate, eaten into by the increased preponderance of SUVs.
Mitsubishi Motors Australia sales director Greg Cook said the solid start to the year put the company in a “strong position” for the introduction of its revised Outlander and new-generation Triton.
“It’s great that we’ve broken a few of our own records this month and started 2015 with a really strong first quarter,” he said.
“Our March result was up 16.1 per cent versus March 2014, and we’re 16.7 per cent ahead on a year-to-date basis.
“This gives us even more confidence as we move towards launching the 2016 Outlander and Triton new model ranges.
“Both of these key products highlight the fresh direction Mitsubishi Motors is taking in terms of the appeal, quality and refinement we’re building into our vehicles, and we can’t wait to share them with Australian customers in the months to come.”