Mitsubishi Gains in Appeal Despite Fuel Mileage Cheat


Despite having their name plastered all over the media for fudging their fuel ratings, Mitsubishi is one of the three brands with the greatest improvement in customer appeal.

Alongside Toyota — and closely followed by Volvo — Mitsubishi improved by 15 points in J.D. Power’s 2016 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study (APEAL). Mitsubishi’s increase is largely due to their crossover SUV, the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander, which advertises 100 improvements in their latest model year.

While riding an upward tick, Mitsubishi still ranks below the non-premium average on the APEAL scores. Their score of 770 is slightly below the median score of 794 for the non-premium brands and 843 for premium/luxury nameplates.

Automakers are scored on a 1,000-point scale based on their emotional reaction and excitement when driving “ranging from the power they feel when they step on the gas to the sense of comfort and luxury they feel when climbing into the driver’s seat.”

Although the new Outlander is remarkably improved from the 2015 model year, Mitsubishi’s sales and profits are falling flat on the news they’ve arbitrarily made up fuel economy figures for 25 years. In the first quarter of 2016 alone, net profits have slumped 75 percent, or about $130 million dollars. The Japanese-based carmaker expects that the fuel mileage scandal will pull down their operating profits 82 percent.

Diminishing Lineup

With the Mitsubishi Evolution X being dropped from the lineup and the Endeavor and Eclipse no longer in the picture, Mitsubishi Motors North America has dwindled to just a few vehicles in their lineup – the hot Outlander, the Outlander Sport/RVR, the Lancer, the Mirage, and the electric car, i-MiEV. It seems automotive may not be their focus in the American marketplace.

Mitsubishi Corporation Ltd. is a behemoth company based in Japan that has, get this, 815 subsidiaries mainly focusing on metals, machinery, energy, and chemicals.