Mitsubishi CEO Yoichi Yokozawa has a lofty goal; get back to 100,000 U.S. sales in the next few years. How does he plan on doing that you ask? One step is adding another all-wheel-drive version of the Lancer sedan and releasing it this fall.
The newest version of the Lancer will be the least expensive all-wheel drive version, with a sticker price of around $20,000. Called the Lancer SE, Mitsubishi expects it to account for 15 to 20 percent of Lancer sales. The front-wheel drive Lancer DE, ES, and GTS will still be available, and will undercut the Lancer SE’s price.
The Lancer SE isn’t the first all-wheel drive version of the car, but it is the first all-wheel drive Lancer without a turbo. The Lancer Evolution and Ralliart are already offered with all-wheel-drive, with the less expensive Ralliart starting at $27,000. The Evo has an asking price closer to $34,000 and boasts a more powerful, 275-horsepower engine.
The Japanese auto maker hopes to sell 73,000 vehicles before the fiscal year is up in March of 2013. Yokozawa believes moving 100,000 in the U.S. won’t be far out of reach after that. So far this year Mitsubishi has sold 52,087 vehicles; a 62 percent increase over the same period last year. The last time Mitsubishi surpassed 100,000 vehicles sold for the year was back in 2007 with the final sales tally stopping at 128,993.
“We are quickly recovering from the bottom years of 2009 and 2010,” Yokozawa said in an interview with Automotive News. “We want to be getting back as quickly as possible to 100,000 units in a few years.”
According to Yokozawa, look out for a stronger advertising presence from Mitsubishi this fall with the spotlight on the Outlander Sport SUV and the new i electric city car.
Do you think the addition of a less expensive all-wheel drive Lancer will boost Mitsubishi’s sales? Would you buy an SE? Tell us in the comment section below.
Source: Automotive News