Mitsubishi predicts 100,000 sales by 2014
LAS VEGAS -- Mitsubishi Motors North America executives laid out plans to increase sales to 100,000 by 2014, said dealers who attended the make meeting.
In an interview after the meeting, Yoichi Yokozawa, president of the North American unit, said the company also is on target to introduce its plug-in hybrid SUV in 2013, but said the vehicle's name has not been decided.
"We've shown a concept vehicle at several motor shows. It's not a secret, except for the name," he said.
Last year Mitsubishi discontinued three models: the Eclipse, Eclipse Spyder and Endeavor. And the Galant is on its way out this year. But Yokozawa said Mitsubishi is on track to increase overall sales by about 25 percent by 2014.
He said many of the discontinued vehicles were sold heavily into fleet and has no impact on Mitsubishi retail sales.
The company's overall sales increased 42 percent to 79,020 in 2011.
Doug Fox, who sells five import brands including Mitsubishi at his Ann Arbor Automotive dealership in Ann Arbor, Mich., said company executives told dealers that Mitsubishi retail sales improved 21 percent in 2011.
Mitsubishi does not report retail and fleet sales separately, but the comments at the make meeting imply last year's sales gain was paced by fleet sales. Yokozawa expects retail sales to grow in 2012 and fleet sales to decline, but would not give a sales forecast for the year.
In January, Mitsubishi's overall sales fell 17 percent, largely because of the loss of the discontinued vehicles. But Yokozawa said retail sales improved in January.
Fox said executives used a graph to show how it plans to ramp up sales by 2014 with the Outlander and Outlander Sport, its Lancer compact car and its new i electric car that is being rolled out to dealers.
The Outlander and Outlander Sport will account for about half of the brand's sales; Lancer will generate about 30 percent; and the electric car will make up 20 percent, Fox said dealers were told.
Fox said he sells "three or four" new Mitsubishi vehicles a month but expects to increase that number significantly when the company has its new product line in place.
Doug Baum, owner of Lewisville Mitsubishi in Lewisville, Texas, says he expects to increase his new-vehicle sales this year and is pleased that the company is doing more to keep its product line fresh.
"The nice thing about the Outlander Sport is that we just launched the car two years ago, and now that they are going to build and assemble the car in Normal, Ill., they're going to be able to build more of them and at a better price, and they're refreshing the car already," he said.
"Seems like we've had a lot of stale product over the years, and now we're getting quicker refreshing," Baum said. "That's good for dealers."
You can reach Arlena Sawyers at email@example.com.