Can Mitsubishi Continue Rebound in 2014?

Mitsubishi Outlander

With less than half of a percentage point of market share in the United States, Mitsubishi has faced some challenges over the last decade that has many automotive analysts assuming the automaker is in big trouble. They once sold nearly 350k vehicles just a dozen years ago. Last year, they barely broke the 60k mark.

The good news is that their poor numbers last year were actually an increase of 8% from the year before. It’s not the type of numbers that can save the company, but it’s definitely encouraging. The real question is whether or not they’ll be able to keep the trend going and show the same or better increases in 2014.

“Mitsubishi is just a small part of the market – less than 0.5 percent,” said Jessica Caldwell of Edmunds. “At one point, Mitsubishi was the fastest-growing Japanese automaker in America. They were at 2 percent share in 2002 – a fairly significant number.”

The real key will be whether or not they’ll be able to get into the conversation at all. They have good cars that are extremely competitive in pricing and performance. The problem is that this current generation of buyers for their cars, those under 40, don’t consider them as a valid option. The brand does well in aggressive markets such as Miami Mitsubishi but fizzles in other areas. Often times, they simply don’t remember them. It’s a case of limited exposure turning into reduced sales which continues to limit exposure. They have no buzz right now. If they can get the word out, they have a chance to succeed. If they can’t, they may be the next automotive manufacturer to fail.

According to the Chicago Tribune:

Mitsubishi’s efforts are being recognized. Among other 2014 awards, Outlander received Kelley Blue Book’s 5-Year Cost to Own Award for the midsize sport utility/crossover segment. Outlander Sport was named an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick, and the Outlander earned the more strenuous IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus.

Read More: Chicago Tribune

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