Mitsubishi learns from previous electric mistakes
30 October 2015
Mitsubishi is "still learning" from the success of the Outlander PHEV, says Clive Messenger, the brand's head of corporate sales and used cars.
While the company's pure-electric i-Miev city car failed to win the minds of car buyers and fleets alike primarily down to steep pricing - according to Lance Bradley, the company's UK managing director, when he spoke to BusinessCar last year - the brand was extremely keen to avoid the same mistake with its hybrid Outlander, giving it exactly the same price as diesel equivalents.
This tactic, it seems, is starting to gain traction, with more than 10,000 Outlander PHEVs finding homes last year - around three times higher than the number of diesel Outlanders bought over the same period - with Messenger stating: "There's still a huge swing towards the PHEV because there are other benefits, not only in the price, but there are taxation benefits," which apply both to fleet users and their companies.
Following steeply ramping up PHEV sales, Bradley last year predicted total sales of more than 10,000 Outlander PHEVs and 25,000 total brand sales by the end of the year - figures which were proven true with sales coming in at 10,037 PHEVs and 28,274 models overall, up from 14,971 in 2013. Seeing the boost to Mitsubishi sales offered by the Outlander PHEV, further hybrid models are likely to hit the brand's showrooms in the near future.
According to Messenger, "Mitsubishi's plan globally is to have at least 20% of its volume being either EV of plug-in hybrid by 2020". Judging on the rapid take up of its 4x4 hybrid in the UK, with three-quarters of UK Outlanders being PHEVs and 36% of Mitsubishi sales being Outlanders, around 27% of the Japanese company's British models already feature petrol-electric power. Helping to ensure that this figure is every bit as realistic as Bradley's PHEV projections, Messenger stated that a new ASX with hybrid power is on the way, while "it's absolutely conceivable that something like the next-generation Shogun will have this type of technology."
Following the success of the Outlander PHEV and private and fleet users' insatiable appetite for off-roaders, it looks likely that Mitsubishi's rocketing sales aren't likely to slow down for a while to come.