LAS VEGAS -- Mitsubishi, an early adopter of turbocharging in the 1980s and 1990s, is going back to boosted engines to aid its turnaround.
At a make meeting on Sunday, Mitsubishi executives told American dealers that a series of turbocharged engines is on the way to the United States, led by a 1.5-liter engine that is scheduled to make its debut in a new midsize crossover in 2018.
Dealers who attended the meeting said Mitsubishi executives showed images of the crossover, which will slot into the lineup between the next-generation Outlander Sport and Outlander. Mitsubishi may only sell about 100,000 vehicles per year in the U.S., but executives told dealers that the U.S. is Mitsubishi’s largest market and a profitable one -- making it an ideal place to invest.
“They know we’re their best chance,” said Ryan Gremore, chairman of Mitsubishi’s dealer council and general manager of O’Brien Mitsubishi in Normal, Ill. “You put your resources where you get your best results.”
Mitsubishi executives said the company is considering a turbocharged 1.1-liter engine for the next generation of the Mirage and Mirage G4 subcompact cars, plus a larger turbocharged engine for the next generation of the Outlander three-row crossover. Those three revisions are scheduled to hit the market around 2019.
Don Swearingen, executive vice president of Mitsubishi Motors North America, told dealers that he and CEO Ryujiro Kobashi are traveling to Japan this month to advocate for the turbocharged engine in the Outlander. In an interview, Swearingen said Mitsubishi needs the boosted engine to move the Outlander upscale as fuel economy standards grow more stringent.
“Everybody in the industry is going to be going even further in this direction,” Swearingen said.
Mitsubishi also told dealers that the factory plans to increase its marketing budget for 2016, and urged dealers to increase their local and regional advertising.
And during a dealer council meeting on Saturday, a day before the make meeting, Mitsubishi presented dealers with images of sporty new trim packages that are under consideration for the Mirage, Mirage G4 and Outlander Sport lines. They would be branded “SAM,” short for “special action model.”