AD #2586 – Mitsubishi Tries to Claw Back, April Sales Weaker Than Expected, Automakers Stumble in China

May 2nd, 2019 at 11:39am

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Runtime: 6:45

0:06 April Sales Weaker Than Expected
0:32 Cars Falling, Trucks Flat
0:57 Tesla Posts Decent Numbers
2:16 Mitsubishi Tries to Claw Back
3:31 Kia Reveals Niro EV Price
3:57 VW Designs AVs For People with Disabilities
4:35 Automakers Stumble in China
5:21 2019 Wards Best Interiors Winners

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37 Comments to “AD #2586 – Mitsubishi Tries to Claw Back, April Sales Weaker Than Expected, Automakers Stumble in China”

  1. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Part of why Mitsubishi sold a lot more in 2002, is that they had a lot more to offer. Yeah, most of them were not-now-fashionable cars, like the semi-sporty Eclipse coupe and convertible, but when you compete in 4 or 5 more market segments, you sell more vehicles. I still see an occasional Eclipse on the road, most of them looking well worn, but still running.

  2. Drew Says:

    My favorite Mitsubishi products were the Dodge Colt twin stick from the 1980s and the Dodge Stealth turbo. As I look back, Mitsu styling must have greatly benefited from Chrysler input.

  3. Larry D. Says:

    “…That’s a pretty impressive number from Tesla considering that its customers can no longer claim a $7,500 tax credit, and considering that Tesla is limited or banned from selling cars in 20 states.”

    Fully agree, esp about its potential if it’s allowed to operate fairly in those 20 states and their 166 million consumers, and if I may add,

    also considering that it is doing all of this with only 3 models,

    of which one is a low-volume flagship sedan,

    the other is a six-figure alleged SUV that looks more like a sleek GT Minivan, also very low volume,

    and the only mass produced mid-to-high price model is a 4 door sedan, and we know how poorly sedans from all other makers are doing!

    So imagine how much stronger its sales will be when it’s reasonably priced 3-row SUV, the Model Y, starts coming off the assembly line by the 10s of 1000s every month!

  4. Larry D. Says:

    3 its, not ‘it’s’ reasonably priced 3 row SUV above. I can’t believe I made this myself, after noticing it in so many others.

    The review of a mid-priced Model 3 from Top Gear puts (I posted the link yesterday) puts to rest all the speculation about the interior, the fit and finish (some expected it to be your father’s Bricklin or Delorean) and the exterior of this affordable model.

  5. Larry D. Says:

    1 In distant antiquity, Dodge and Mitsu had one of the most potent coupes, their HP in some versions were the highest in their market segment (Dodge Stealth and Mitsu 3000 if I remember well).

  6. Brett Cammack Says:

    Very pleased with both our 2006 Outlander LS and our 2016 Outlander SEL. Both were/are great value propositions. They may not be superlative, but they are adequate as Hell for the price.

    I think it’s funny how Mitsubishi led the big 3 in shedding passenger vehicles to concentrate on SUVs. Clearly they had the dire necessity to do something compared to GM and Ford, but you have to give them credit for guessing correctly which way the frog was going to jump.

    To me, the Mirage is in the mix because if you’re going to get people out of buying a used car, you need something affordable. Those folks want something reliable that isn’t a 4-wheel penalty box. One of our field reps bought a Mirage hatch with her company car allowance and is quite satisfied with the little spud. Says the amenities are unexpected at that low a price-point.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The 3000 GT was last sold longer ago than I realized,1999 model year. The similar Dodge Stealth was last sold 1996 model year.

  8. Larry D. Says:

    6 A used Civic is quite affordable and a far better choice. No wonder the Civic is the best selling of all cars sold in the US, even better than the Camry, which sold just a few more units than the Civic, but the Camry sells many 1,000s of units a month to the daily rentals.

    as for “penalty box” this reminds me the reviews of the most affordable pure EV a few years ago, a tiny, spartan Mitsu 4-door. You can find low-mile used specimen for less than $5k.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Mirage and Chevy Spark are for those who just want a new car, with a new car warranty. Both are slow, crude, and noisy, but would work fine as a city car for some people. Also, they are both short, which would be a good thing for parking in some situations.

    Yeah, a 3 year old used Civic or Corolla, for a similar price, would be a much better all around car,

  10. ArtG Says:

    6. The Mitsu Mirage is one of CR’s lowest rated cars ever:

    “Yet those enhancements don’t mask the weak, vibrating three-cylinder engine that delivers sluggish acceleration and a raspy chorus of lament, or the car’s clumsy handling. Though it’s relatively roomy, the depressing cabin feels drab, cheap, and insubstantial. In the end, there is no compelling reason to buy a Mirage, and, for the same price, there are many much better used cars available.”

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    10 The one I remember being rated even lower than the Mirage was the previous-to-current generation Jeep Wrangler. The Wrangler was in CR’s top category for owner satisfaction, though, so buyers knew what they were getting.

    Mirage is in the second lowest satisfaction category. As I remember, that means that still, more than half of buyers would buy the same car if they could do it over.

  12. Lambo2015 Says:

    11. Its hard to believe but there are people out there that know nothing about the car they own. They have no idea what size engine it has nor do they care. I have met people that would take a lesser car over a better one simply because they like the color better. To them it is simple a necessity to get from A to B and sadly will buy the inferior vehicles. That’s how Kia grew their market share. They offered a halfway decent car at a low price with the best warranty. It drew in those buyers that didn’t care about where it was made how reliable it was due to the warranty and knew they could get a new car cheap. They probably never read CR on any vehicle because it really comes down to the color, if it has carplay and price.

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    12 A few years ago, I read somewhere that a significant number of BMW 3 series drivers didn’t know which wheels were driven.

    CR’s owner satisfaction rating are interesting to look through. The Mercedes C-Class, for example, is in the second lowest owner satisfaction category, like a Mitsu Mirage. The C-Class is a nice car, but I suspect a lot of owners, especially first-time “premium brand) buyers start realizing that it isn’t almost twice as good as the Accord, Camry, (or whatever) that it replaced.

  14. Larry D. Says:

    13 The C class used to be Civic, not Accord or Camry sized. So it is quite cramped, at least the one I test drove, as well as the 190 before it. Even in the front.

    But I 100% disagree with the rest of your post, which you have repeated often. Nobody makes such comparisons. Not even Honda or Toyota offer the Civic or the Accord as an alternative or replacement to the C or E class. They have Acura and Lexus for that.

    Most Merc and BMW Buyers will comparison test their corresponding BMW and Merc models, maybe also Audi, even Lexus, but not anything else. Not even Porsche, it has a different market segment.

    If all people chose cars by doing some first grade math, $/lb, $/hp, $/length, width, height, room etc, they would all drive Impalas. I know one, Rafi Haftka, a successful prof. down in Florida, now retired, formerly at Virginia Tech, who always did these ‘scientific’ ‘quantitative’ evaluations, and ALWAYS ended up with an Impala.

  15. Larry D. Says:

    13 PS Also, this question, is this car twice as good as the other car, while not at all applicable in comparing a Civic with a C class that costs twice as much, which are apples and watermelons, is indeed a valid question to ask, if you compare Apples to Apples, such as:

    The $35K volt with the $70k ELR (which had even less room than the Volt)

    The 5 or 6 versions of the same old car masquerading as a Chevy, a Buick, a Pontiac, a Cadillac, and even GMC (for trucks) and Saturns. Did I forget any division? here is it when it is 100% valid to ask if the top priced flavor is twice as good as the bottom, since they usually had the exact same mechanicals too.

    The FORD clones which are all over the range of LINCOLN cars and SUVs. Here is where your Q is 100% valid!

    NOT in Mercs and BMWs, which, at least until recently, were not pimped up clones of any lesser brand!

  16. Larry D. Says:

    Ι must say I had AAH on since 3 PM and the female they have on who talks too fast and too much and has this very nasal accent is really annoying to listen to. The others too, what have they been saying 20 minutes now? I hear “Rivian” every now and then. Seriously? Who cares.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The current C-Class is a 7 inches shorter than a Camry or Accord, and has about 5 inches less rear leg room.

    How many recent C-Class prospects, or buyers, have you talked to? The ones I know have mainstream brand cars, and are considering “moving up” to a Mercedes. In one case, it’s a Fusion hybrid owner considering a C-Class. She knows nothing about cars, but knows that Benzes have “prestige,” which seems to be her main interest in one. I think I have her convinced that a CLA would be a major step down from what she has. I doubt if she’s even heard of Acura, and the logical “move up,” by your criteria, would be a Lincoln, which certainly doesn’t have the M-B panache.

    Yeah, Porsche certainly is in a much different market segment, especially the 911 variants, Boxter, and Cayman, though the Cayenne is a Q7 competitor.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    15 Yeah, the ELR wasn’t twice as good as a Volt, except maybe in appearance. That’s why it sold so poorly.

    You forgot Oldsmobile.

  19. Larry D. Says:

    AAH is getting warmer. Peter made some informative comments, and then Gary made the best one:

    “Is an Electric Pickup Truck the answer to the Question Nobody asked”?

    I think so, and same for the BEV Harley. Good luck with those two!

  20. Larry D. Says:

    19 PS I’m not even sure about the (on sale in couple years) Tesla Y non-SUV SUV. I saw it when it was unveiled, and it is a very nice design and all, but it looks nothing like an SUV. More like a taller Model 3 Hatchy sedan!

  21. Larry D. Says:

    18 I knew I forgot something, and then I remembered Olds, before you reminded me.

    Another good one was the $40k Corvette and the $80k Caddy Clone the XLR or whatever.

  22. Larry D. Says:

    here he is ( it seems he has not retired yet), the Impala buyer (after maximizing his $/hp. $/length etc)

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    21 …and the XLR didn’t perform as well as the Chevy version. The Cadillac was a retractable hardtop, for those who really wanted that, but I heard that it wasn’t the best execution of retractable hardtops.

    22 Did he buy Impalas back when they were huge, rear-drive cars, or just since they became front drive?

  24. ChuckGrenci Says:

    The biggest difference between the Corvette and the XLR was that the Caddy had the NorthStar (I guess to try to allude to a more sophisticated powertrain; it wasn’t). It did, at least, have a more sophisticated styling, though that was surely subjective. And I don’t think we will see a derivative of the C8, as a Cadillac; at least not right away, or if somehow a niche can be conceived that isn’t apparent now.

    There was a time when there was enough of a difference that the GM divisions made sense; each had different enough styling, engine options and creature comforts. Chevrolet, the everyman’s car, Pontiac, a little more performance oriented, Oldsmobile, subdued (perceived luxury), Buick, almost a Cadillac and Cadillac, a bit more ostentatious and the pinnacle of innovation. When Chevy moved up, there was just less room for the others to distinguish themselves.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24 I toured the Bowling Green plant when XLR production was starting up, and saw a pre-production, or early production one at a restaurant nearby. As I remember, the XLR actually went into production before the C6 Corvette. Is that right?

    In the early ’50s, Oldsmobile was kind of the performance/technology division of GM. Like Cadillac, they had an overhead valve V8, starting in 1949, while Buick and Pontiac were still using very old design straight 8s as their biggest engines. Olds also used Hydramatic, while Buick used the, basically, one-speed Dynaflow.

  26. Larry D. Says:

    23 Not that far ago, not in the 60s-70s, but in the late 90s and the 2000s. The early ones might be RWD I haven’t checked. He was a colleague of my first ever PhD student, who told me about this. The guy who told me, on the other hand, is a driver who always had very slow reflexes and drove very slow, and always bought Audis, and spent a ton of them trying to keep them in perfect shape. He bought cars and was very critical of SUVs and their buyers, even called them ‘reptilian brained’, then did a 180 and bought a used X5 with the 3 lt engine and low miles, and then a used Q5, and now he is very happy with them. Maybe his brain became reptilian too.. he was recently diagnosed with Alzheimers, dementia, etc. Really sad.

  27. Larry D. Says:

    24 That time was really early when Alfred Sloan at GM fought Ford, who offered very few different models, by offering a car flavor for every taste. (and was very successful). Long time ago.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24,27 Having all of those brands worked for GM through the ’60s. Having 4 or 5 brands even worked for Chrysler, through the mid ’50s. Then, Ford decided to “catch up” by adding Edsel, just as Chrysler was getting ready to drop DeSoto.

  29. Larry D. Says:

    There was no competition for the “Big 3″ in the 50s and 60s, even in the early 80s Toyota and Honda best-sellers were a tiny fraction of GM’s models sales. In the 60s there was only the VW Bug as a serious challenge from the imports, and the Euro luuxry brands had less than 10% of the luxury market in the US while now they (and Lexus etc other imports) have 90%

  30. ChuckGrenci Says:

    24-29, Exactly, back when the big three had most of the market, and GM had almost half, the multi-brands made sense and were sustainable. It’s too long a story of why they lost their mojo, so the reduction of brands makes pragmatic sense these days.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Toyota Corolla US sales began in 1968, the year VW Beetle sales peaked, at about 400K.

  32. Larry D. Says:

    30 in fact GM’s peak share was close to 60%. Any other company with so much power would monopolize the market and get in trouble with the Antitrust laws.

  33. Larry D. Says:

    31 When I bought the Pontiac 2000, in 83, there was no Camry. I could have bought a civic but it was about 25% more expensive and smaller, and also some colleagues (forget which ones) suggested that since I was employed by a state institution, I should support the local industry.

  34. Larry D. Says:

    31 a few years ago the VW group (VW+Audi+Porsche+Lambo+Bentley) wanted to sell twice that, 800,000 a year, in the US, an ambitious target that was never achieved, but thanks to its SUVs, now it at least sells about 600,000, or 50,000 a month, 32k VWs, 20k Audis, 6k Porsches, and less than 1k of the rest.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    32 In the ’60s, there was talk of breaking GM into Chevy, and “the rest.” As we know, it didn’t happen, and there was thought that two GMs would dominate even more than was already the case.

  36. Larry D. Says:

    35 did DOJ want to break it up or did the GM execs themselves? I remember when DOJ broke up the huge Standard Oil Co, JD Rockefeller tipped his friends to buy shares because he expected the parts to be worth more than the whole was, and he was right.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    DOJ, I think. It would have been when I was in about 8th grade, so I’m not sure.