New charge of the Lancers

Mit­subishi is plan­ning an all-out at­tack, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

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.

Just hatched:

three vari­ants of the Lancer Sport­back, which Mit­subishi hopes will give the com­pany an ex­tra push along.

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