The long-anticipated Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid was expected later this year but has once again been postponed for the U.S. and Canada.
This is at least the fifth time it’s been delayed launching in North America since its 2013 Japan-market launch.
“Following a thorough evaluation process, we have determined that, in order to meet a level of competitiveness that will exceed customer expectations in the United States, the launch of the Outlander PHEV will be delayed until the summer of 2017,” said Alex Fedorak, manager of Mitsubishi public relations.
The all-wheel-drive SUV has been the best-selling PHEV in Europe, and would have filled a price-for-performance niche in the U.S. and Canada.
Mitsubishi has been troubled in recent months with a Japan-market mpg cheating scandal, and its first-quarter operating profits plummeted 75 percent.
In Japan, sales of the Outlander PHEV have been decimated from a consistent level of around 1,000 units per month prior to the mpg scandal to one-quarter that over the past three months. After selling 955 units in March, Mitsubishi reported 250 in April, 174 in May, and 253 in June.
At present, Mitsubishi is in the process of allying with Nissan. This tie-up is expected to be finalized in October and to begin a new chapter for the beleaguered automaker which still has plans for more electrification.
The Outlander PHEV was fully revised for 2016 and its 12-kWh battery promised enough usable range combined with all-wheel-drive SUV performance to fill a niche no other automaker has yet to fill in its mid-level price segment.
In all, just 13 plug-in hybrids – mostly front-wheel drive cars – are on sale now in the U.S.
A version of this article first appeared on Hybridcars.com