After a series of economic trials and tribulations, Mitsubishi’s sales are finally on the upswing. In 2014, the Japanese automaker sold 22,704 vehicles in Canada, which represents a 7.3% increase over the year before. And Mitsubishi is optimistic about 2015 for two reasons: sales figures for the first few months look promising and they’ve got a brand-new Outlander to shake things up!
Revamped and upgraded, this SUV has a lot of qualities that the public is bound to like. The vehicle’s exterior is now more in line with today’s tastes (they’ve stopped trying to be different, since that never amounted to much success), the interior is more refined, and buyers have the choice of two tried-and-true engines.
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Interestingly, when you compare Canada’s sales stats with those of the U.S., you discover that a lot more V6 models are sold here than down south. In fact, 70% of Outlanders sold in Canada come with the V6, with the other 30% being equipped with the 2.4-litre four-cylinder. This is the exact opposite of what’s happening in the States. And it’s surprising since Americans tend to buy bigger engines and bigger vehicles in general, whereas Canadians usually opt for vehicles with more modest mills.
The how and why
Management at Mitsubishi Canada says there are several reasons for this situation. First, the model isn’t marketed the same way in both countries and the various trims don’t come with the same standard equipment. This has a direct impact on consumer choices. Second, the V6 is popular in Canada because people in our country are interested in its 3,500-pound towing capacity.
In the compact SUV category, the Outlander is the only vehicle to offer a V6. Plus, Canadians prefer all-wheel drive and the V6’s output is better for driving on snowy roads or in other poor conditions. Essentially, the way the trims are equipped in Canada stacks the cards in favour of the V6 models.
A big and diverse family
In Canada, the Outlander family is made up of seven trim levels.
- The most affordable is the ES ($25,998). It’s the only trim to come with front-wheel drive.
- Then there’s the ES AWC ($27,998), which features four-wheel drive.
- Third in line is the ES AWC Premium ($31,998). Its higher price is justified by a beefier list of standard equipment, especially the electronic safety and infotainment systems.
- Up next are the SE AWC ($31,198) and SE AWC Touring ($32,798). Since both come with the V6, the main difference is the equipment.
- Crowning the line-up are the GT models: the GT S-AWC ($36,948) comes with a very comprehensive list of standard equipment, while the GT S-AWC ($38,498) adds a satellite navigation system. It goes without saying that the two GTs come with the V6 engine and a fourth mode, Snow, for the four-wheel drive system.
Sales and medium-term outlook
Mitsubishi has 90 dealerships in Canada, though 40% of national sales come from Quebec, where there are 34 showrooms. Mitsubishi Canada is planning on unveiling and selling the Outlander PHEV, a plug-in hybrid, and the Mirage 4G sedan in 2016.