Mitsubishi Motors Canada has set some lofty goals for growth over the next three years. The brand's Canadian chief says it can meet them.
Mitsubishi's global strategy focuses on utility vehicles, electrified vehicles and technical capabilities such as all-wheel drive, priorities that play perfectly into the current automotive purchasing preferences of Canadian consumers.
Mitsubishi Motors Chief Operating Officer Trevor Mann said at October’s Tokyo Motor Show that the company’s ambition is a global market-share increase of 30 per cent by the end of the company’s 2019 fiscal year. Given that the Canadian arm’s annual market share currently sits at 1.1 per cent, a 30-per-cent increase would see Mitsubishi Motors Canada bring that figure up to just over 1.4 per cent, which is a goal that president Tony Laframboise told Automotive News Canada is realistic.
Laframboise sees two major factors playing a role in that increase. One is a planned expansion of the dealer network, which currently totals 89 locations nationwide, with 38 per cent in Quebec, 28 per cent in Ontario, 11 per cent in British Columbia and the remainder dispersed across the rest of the provinces except Prince Edward Island. The company is targeting a total of 105 dealerships by the end of 2019.
The addition of Mitsubishi Motors to the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance has spurred interest from several well-established Nissan dealers, particularly in Quebec.
“They tell us, ‘if the same thing that happened with Nissan [after joining the Alliance] happens with you, we want to be a part of it,’” Laframboise said.
The second major growth factor comes from several new models that will hit the Canadian market.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross will be a new entry in the compact utility segment when it launches early next year. With the Lancer sedan exiting Canada in March 2018, Laframboise says the Eclipse Cross will be positioned as a transition vehicle for families who increasingly see utility vehicles as the natural progression for their lifestyles.
On the EV side, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid will arrive in showrooms by the end of 2017 as a standalone plug-in hybrid option in the midsize-utility segment. Ontario’s EV incentives offer the most compelling price proposition, with a base MSRP of $33,498, including rebate. On top of the consumer sales potential, Laframboise says that the company has been approached by several large potential clients interested in the Outlander PHEV for fleet use.
Canada is currently the eighth largest market for Mitsubishi Motors globally: The brand sold 22,293 units in 2016.