Mitsubishi’s plan of growing its sales in the U.S. will apparently spawn a five-seat small crossover/SUV dedicated to the European and North American market.
In an interview with Automotive News ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show, Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko said that the future product will slot between the mid-size Outlander and the compact Outlander Sport:
“The Outlander is growing in size, while the Outlander Sport is getting smaller, so it opens a space for the new SUV. We need something to fit in between.”
The new vehicle – which is currently unnamed – will apparently make it into production next year in autumn, aiming at the U.S and Europe as its main markets. The publication also reports that the production variant will borrow some design elements from the eX Concept cross-over seen at the Tokoy Motor Show, and it will be smaller than Mazda’s CX-5 model. Its main rivals will include – among others – the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson.
Apparently, the future vehicle will be the “fresh-product” the U.S. dealers asked for, and it will be offered with gasoline and plug-in hybrid powertrains – at least in the U.S. In other markets, a diesel variant will also be available.
Along with the arrival of the Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid, Mitsubishi expects to sell at least 6,000 hybrids in the U.S. in 2016 as the CEO continued:
“The U.S. is a big market, and of course we’re going to be continuing sales there. We are putting emphasis on SUVs. The SUV market is growing, and we’re enjoying good business at the moment.”
Note: Mitsubishi eX Concept pictured