05. The Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid: Too Little, Too Late?
Mitsubishi has announced that it will be bringing a plug-in hybrid version of the mid-size Mitsubishi Outlander crossover vehicle to the Paris Motor Show later this year. The vehicle will offer all-electric, extended-range hybrid, and traditional hybrid drive modes, and four-wheel drive will be standard. Mitsubishi is promising a near-500 mile range for the Outlander plug-in hybrid, and states that it will come to market in late 2013.
The question becomes 'why?' Is a plug-in Outlander really going to change the fortunes of an automaker that has walked away from almost half of its current North American lineup and which continues to struggle with issues such as identity and profitability? Does the brand have the cachet required to attract eco-conscious buyers into its showrooms despite the general consumer apathy associated with Mitsubishi? Finally, will the vehicle actually arrive on time, or will the cash-strapped company be forced to focus on more profitable models in the interim?