It has been a rare positive year for Mitsubishi, but its climb up the charts has all been off the back of the new Triton ute and some cracking deals on the ASX compact SUV. The ageing Lancer – it’s approaching retirement age in dog years – continues to shed share in a large and important market segment. Its smaller sibling, the Mirage, battles with fickle sales at the cut-throat end of the market.
A replacement for the Challenger arrives early in the year, renamed Pajero Sport. It won’t be massive volume, but will add some muscle in the serious off-road segment and stem some flow from Pajero to other brands. An updated Mirage hatch will appear in the second half. An updated Lancer, due in the first half, won’t challenge class leaders but may claw back some of the market share it has shed in recent years.
Every other brand. And a lack of genuinely new product; Mitsubishi has been sitting on its hands for so long they must be numb. Passenger-car share is dismal and the brand’s successes – ASX and Triton – will come under increasing pressure in 2016. The Triton may be new, but it’s selling largely on price in a ute market bristling with a dazzling array of fresh offerings
Punching above its weight, but challenges ahead. With little on the product horizon, it’ll be a tough year, made more difficult by rivals rediscovering their mojo. So expect plenty more grey clouds ahead. That’s a tough call considering it has just emerged from a tropical downpour, but a lack of fresh and exciting product offers little short-term relief.