On the road to recovery
NOT a single Mitsubishi i-MiEV was sold in Australia in 2013.
That’s not a bad thing, because the tiny electric car is not a good thing, as well as costing too much.
It also shows what happens, even to a group as good as Mitsubishi, when their showroom cars aren’t good or are not a match for their opposition.
Yet, for the first time the Japanese maker managed a showroom total last year that was better than the years when it was a local maker and the proud parent of cars as good as the original wide-body Magna and the 380 that put the sad full stop on its manufacturing in Adelaide.
As Ford and Holden face up to a similar import-only future, and former local Nissan stumbles again with too many cars and not enough customers, Mitsubishi is banking the success of a value-driven strategy that’s putting smiles on lots of faces in Australia. Most of those faces belong to owners, but some are at Mitsubishi’s Adelaide headquarters.
“We are getting back on track,” says Mitsubishi marketing executive director Tony Principe.
“The reality is we sold over 20,000 passenger cars last year, compared with 15,800 the year before. So we are up 32 per cent and the passenger market is down 2 per cent.”
Mitsubishi’s big winner is the Triton, now the best-value contender in the pick-up business and responsible for more than 25,000 deliveries in 2013, and there will be a replacement before the end of 2014.
It’s also done well with the tiddler Mirage, which was brought here to cement the bottom end for buyers.
Mitsubishi insiders admit they are drawing customers with a price line that means Recommended Retail Price is just a starting spot for showroom negotiations, but it’s about achieving critical mass and top-of-mind impact with shoppers.
“We’re on the up. You can never say you’re completely happy, but . . . we’re improving in all the key areas,” Principe says.
“We’ve been listening and we’re trying to improve all areas of our business. It’s taken a little while but we’re definitely on track.”