Mitsubishi XR-PHEV, GC-PHEV and AR concepts, 2013 Tokyo Motor ShowEnlarge Photo
Mitsubishi's relatively low U.S. sales reflect the theory that its best models aren't to be found in its volume range; this is a company offering its best in more niche-market products.
That means sporty Evolution models to appease performance fans, gas-sipping models like the Mirage and the firm's plat du jour, plug-in cars.
Those plug-in vehicles could make up 20 percent of the automaker's range by 2020, if Mitsubishi's future business plans come to fruition.
Mitsubishi's recently-announced mid-term business plan lays out (via Autoblog Green) a list of basic goals to achieve through 2016. Goal number one is launching what it calls "strategic models", those which generate the greatest income for Mitsubishi worldwide.
That actually means an improved range of crossovers and SUVs for the most part, with the automaker's L200 light-duty pickup and Pajero Sport (Montero Sport in some markets) considered the most important cars for Mitsubishi worldwide. A new Outlander Sport and Montero are also on the menu.
More interesting though is the automaker's intention to expand its range of plug-in hybrid vehicles and full battery electric vehicles.
Mitsubishi sees the value in becoming an early market leader with such technology and a fifth of its range could tout a plug by 2020. Currently, Mitsubishi sells two models that already meet those criteria--the "i" or i-MiEV battery-electric city car, and the upcoming Outlander PHEV. European sales are apparently going well, with 10,000 advance orders for the plug-in crossover.
Mitsubishi may also hint at future plug-in hybrid models at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show, where it's set to show three new concept vehicles aiming at different market segments. Two of those, a full-size SUV and a sporty crossover concept (possibly Montero and Outlander Sport replacements), will feature plug-in drivetrains.