Mitsubishi Committed to US Market: Brand Boss Says

Mitsubishi Committed to US Market: Brand Boss Says

It isn’t the wort way to find last place, but then again there isn’t really a good way to do that either.

That’s probably something along the lines of what’s going through executive minds at Mitsubishi this week as Suzuki went from floundering to failure. Still, Mitsubishi President Osamu Masuko insists that the brand has “no intention whatsoever of withdrawing from the U.S. market.”

Despite that commitment, it’s been a year of shrinking sales and stiff competition for Mitsubishi — not the smallest Japanese brand sold on American soil.

Mitsubishi’s market share sank to .4 percent from .7 percent last year. Overall, the company struggled last year to move cars as well, with sales tumbling 29 percent to 50,103 units.

Masuko is keeping calm in the face of that adversity, recognizing how important the U.S. market is and insisting his brand is headed for a rebound.

The decline, he said to Automotive News, is due mostly to discontinuing four of its main models: the Eclipse, Eclipse Spyder, Galant sedan and Endeavour crossover.

He predicts that sales will reach 55,000 units by the end of the fiscal year in March, 2013 and that they will rebound 80,000 units within a year after that.

Furthermore, the brand plans to boost production out of its Illinois plant to 70,000 units next year. Hoping to sell that many cars in the North American market probably seems a little bird brained and it would be, but that isn’t the plan. Instead, Mitsu will boost production to bolster exports to other markets including Russia, the Middle East and Latin America.

[Source: Automotive News]