With just 1,564 sales last month, the new 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport barely outsold the Nissan LEAF in August, so it’s not exactly like Mitsu’s crossover is tearing up the monthly sales charts. But thanks to that model, and some surprising sales bumps elsewhere in the lineup, the automaker itself has been one of the fastest-growing brands in the business for most of the year.
It’s something I first noticed as I was tracking Jeep’s outstanding success so far in 2011. That latter brand has conquered the industry’s challenging sales environment with the same kind of aplomb its vehicles show on the trail, garnering a 50 percent increase in deliveries through the month of August. Yet as impressive as that is, it pales before the growth of Mitsubishi, which has raised sales 64.9 percent on a year-to-date basis, capped off by an August that saw deliveries shoot up by 86 percent. That makes Mitsubishi the second-fastest-growing automaker in the industry through the first eight months of the year, trailing only—and shockingly—Saab.
Of course, volume-wise, Saab trails Mitsubishi by about as much as Mitsu trails the big boys, with the corpse of the Swedish automaker managing a total of 4,101 deliveries so far this year. That works out to a 98.6 percent YTD increase, but the fact of the matter is that Saab is circling the drain faster than it’s selling cars right now.
Mitsubishi, on the other hand, does appear to be showing some surprising signs of life.