Australia to influence future Mitsubishi models as local market becomes more important for Japanese brand – Car News

According to a senior executive, future Mitsubishi models will carry an Australian flair as the Japanese brand seeks to leverage more local expertise and knowledge for global products.

Talk to Cars GuideMitsubishi Australia’s head of product strategy, Tim Clarke, said the success of the local market, which has grown 11.5% so far in 2022 to 41,748 sales and third behind Toyota and Mazda, gives the brand a louder voice when it comes to new models.

“It’s no secret that we are a pretty strong market for Mitsubishi, globally, in terms of sales and profitability that we feed back into global commerce,” he said.

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“We are also increasingly recognized as a mature market where our use cases are quite diverse, and we expect a lot from our vehicles.

“MMC (Mitsubishi Motors Corporation) is starting to realize that if we can make it work here, it will probably work in other markets too.

“We’re trying to take advantage of that and bring more development here rather than in other markets where they might have in the past.”

Mitsubishi Australia used to build cars locally but switched to a full-time importer in 2008 when the 380 saloon was put on pasture, but Mr Clarke revealed some of the engineering and development talent is stayed with the brand.

“I worked at Mitsubishi in Tonsley when we were developing the 380 in the early 2000s as part of the test and validation team for it,” he said.

“We have three other guys here who are part of this engineering group, who still hold a lot of expertise and knowledge about what we need to do to make a vehicle work in our market, on our roads.

“That was kind of lost in this transition from a manufacturing business to a sales and marketing business, and now we’re re-launching that with MMC and we’re listening and understanding what our capabilities are.

“They [MMC] are starting to ask us about the Australian market in particular, where they haven’t in the past, which is really gratifying for us.

“[We went from an] engineering focuses on product and marketing with this engineering education, and right now is probably not the best time for product engineering and planning due to the transition of technology, emissions and everything else, requires a really technical and detailed understanding of how products work to understand what’s going to work in our market and meet regulations and market needs in the future.

Mr Clarke revealed that the new Outlander, which was launched late last year in petrol engine form and is about to hit showrooms with a plug-in powertrain, has been slightly modified in Australia before its market introduction.

Mitsubishi Australia has made small changes to the active safety systems to make the Traffic Sign Recognition system display the last recorded speed on the Driver Display for longer, as well as minor changes to the sensitivity of the assist technology lane keeping.

Although Clarke did not confirm whether development of the vehicle would ramp up to include local suspension tuning (like Hyundai and Kia) or hot weather testing, Mitsubishi Australia product PR manager Adam Davis, confirmed that a Japanese vehicle development team would be embedded Down Under for further evaluation. .

“We call it [Australia] a core market internally, and our relationship with MMC has never been stronger in this regard,” he said.

“There are delegations that come to better understand Australian market conditions, but also for road trips and to understand [our market].”

As for exactly what future models Mitsubishi has in its pipeline, that’s still unclear, but being part of a global alliance that includes Nissan and Renault means the brand has a deep well to tap into.