Mitsubishi expands awd line, chases 100,000 sales
Yokozawa: Sales growth to come from retail, not fleets.
LOS ANGELES -- Mitsubishi will add another all-wheel-drive version of its Lancer sedan this fall as it tries to claw its way back to 100,000 U.S. sales.
Yoichi Yokozawa, CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America, said in an interview that the SE will be the least expensive all-wheel-drive vehicle in the lineup with a sticker price of around $20,000.
The existing all-wheel-drive Ralliart and Evolution versions of the Lancer are turbocharged. The least costly of the two, the Ralliart, starts at about $27,000.
The lower priced front-drive Lancer DE, ES and GTS trim levels all have naturally aspirated engines.
The SE, also naturally aspirated, goes on sale this fall, and Mitsubishi expects it to account for 15 to 20 percent of Lancer sales.
Mitsubishi hopes to sell 73,000 vehicles in its fiscal year ending next March and grow to 100,000 units in the United States soon after, said Yokozawa.
"We are quickly recovering from the bottom years of 2009 and 2010," Yokozawa said. "We want to be getting back as quickly as possible to 100,000 units in a few years."
From January through July, sales rose 62 percent over last year to 52,087.
Mitsubishi last sold more than 100,000 vehicles in the United States in 2007, when sales totaled 128,993.
Yokozawa said the growth will come from retail sales rather than fleets. Fleet volumes accounted for about 32 percent of the brand's total sales last month.
He also said Mitsubishi will boost advertising this fall. A new brand campaign will highlight the Outlander Sport SUV and its upcoming i electric city car.
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