TOKYO -- Mitsubishi has delayed the long-awaited next-generation redesigns of its Outlander crossover and Outlander Sport compact crossover, key pillars of its U.S. lineup, as engineers seek ways to share components with Nissan vehicles, supplier sources say.
The delay marks one of the first impacts the new Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance could have on the U.S. market and is a blow to U.S. Mitsubishi dealers clamoring for new product.
The next-generation Outlander had been scheduled for launch in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, while the redesigned Outlander Sport was due the following year.
Now, the Outlander is expected in late 2019 or early 2020, while the Outlander Sport has been pushed back until after 2020, one supplier executive involved with the programs said.
Both vehicles are under review as Mitsubishi and Nissan search for ways to share parts and architecture with the Nissan Rogue and Rogue Sport crossovers, another supplier executive said.
The goal is to commonize underpinnings and components not visible to the consumer so the vehicles can save money while maintaining an outer identity distinct to each brand, the supplier executives said.
The holdup underscores the urgency with which Carlos Ghosn, chairman of both Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp., is trying to deliver shared savings between the companies. As head of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, he engineered Nissan's purchase of a controlling stake in Mitsubishi last year, building a global auto empire with sales approaching 10 million units.
Thanks to the addition of Mitsubishi's 2016 global sales of 934,013 vehicles, the alliance's global volume surged to 9.96 million vehicles in 2016, falling just a hair short of third-place GM.
Now the focus turns to combining programs, slashing costs and promoting efficiencies.
In announcing Nissan's takeover of Mitsubishi, Ghosn outlined plans to reap savings of 49 billion yen ($427.1 million) in the next fiscal year through joint manufacturing, product sharing, combined purchasing and other combined operations that spread costs over higher volumes.