Mitsubishi targets new sales high
13 March 2015
Author: Tristan Young
Mitsubishi is aiming to set a new sales record for the brand in 2017 with registrations of 40,000 vehicles, and fleets are key to that target.
The brand's previous highest sales figure in the UK was 38,500 vehicles in 2005. Last year, Mitsubishi sold just over 22,751 units, 75% up on 2013.
The growth is expected to come from the Outlander PHEV, as well as model launches such as a new L200 and a replacement for the ASX, which will also feature the plug-in hybrid technology first seen in the Outlander.
Mitsubishi claims more than 10,000 Outlander PHEVs will have been sold in the car's first 12 months, and the model is set to overtake the Nissan Leaf's four-year registration total in the next few months.
The Outlander has seen Mitsubishi's fleet split move from 31% in 2013 to 46% in 2014.
Lance Bradley, Mitsubishi's UK managing director, puts this growth down to a new fleet charter that the brand's retail network signed up to last year, plus increased investment at Mitsubishi HQ, including a larger fleet sales team.
Bradley explained: "Three quarters of PHEV sales are to fleet, and it was an issue with some retailers that because company car drivers weren't buying from them, they weren't treating those people well enough.
"We pointed out that even though the drivers may not buy from them, they would get servicing work and increased showroom traffic, so we brought in a fleet charter that essentially means that fleet customers will be treated like retail customers.
"Our retailers have responded well to this and the sales figures show the results."
Speaking at this year's Geneva motor show, where Mitsubishi revealed a concept car that is set to become the next-generation ASX small SUV, Bradley said the future ASX could boost the brand's fleet sales significantly because it too will use PHEV technology. The concept is claimed to offer a sub-40g/km CO2 figure and could represent huge tax saving for business car drivers.
When quizzed about possible volumes for the new model, which is expected in about two years, Bradley said: "The head office in Japan has seen that we have sold 10,000 of the Outlander in a year and, given the size of the market for small SUVs relative to that for the Outlander, they are talking about possibly 30,000 units for the new car."