New charge of the Lancers
Mitsubishi is planning an all-out attack, writes PAUL GOVER
AN ALL-NEW Lancer sedan will arrive soon from Japan to take up the slack from the loss of the Australian-made Mitsubishi 380. It is not a direct replacement for the midsized 380, but Mitsubishi believes the upscale newcomer with a 2.4-litre engine can regain some lost ground.
The newcomer will be part of a model rush in the second half of this year. It will include the Lancer Sportback hatch and upgrades for the Pajero and Outlander four-wheel drives.
‘‘It’s not the new 380, but certainly an opportunity to capture and retain some of our customers who were in that segment,’’ Mitsubishi Motors Australia managing director Rob McEniry says.
‘‘We want to position it as a vehicle to address some of the market we’ve had, against cars like the Mazda6 and Honda Accord.
I’m not suggesting this car falls into exactly the category where we had the 380, but it’s an opportunity so our owners and customers don’t leak entirely from the brand.’’
McEniry believes the Lancer Sportback can be a big winner, riding the wave of interest created by the new Lancer Evolution.
‘‘In the Lancer sector we’re only been selling with the sedan. I’m not suggesting a 100 per cent increase in our numbers, but we will have an opportunity,’’ he says.
‘‘There is a fair bit still to happen for us this year. The products are hitting the sweet spots. We’re very humbly moving forward, trying to scratch a few sales here and there.
‘‘We’re quite excited about the balance of the year. We’ve got 24 variants of the Lancer, the Sportsback models, Ralliart cars, an upgraded Pajero and an upgraded Outlander.’’
McEniry says Mitsubishi is showing solid sales growth with its all-imported line-up.
He believes the final result for this year will reflect a healthy improvement on recent years.
‘‘Our target is to outsell last year, so it would be mid-60,000s. We would be fifth overall with that,’’ he says.
three variants of the Lancer Sportback, which Mitsubishi hopes will give the company an extra push along.