AMSTERDAM -- Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has postponed product development spending, with the exception of a push into small cars and electric vehicles, its top executive said.
We have stopped all product investments except for environmental developments. That means small cars, plug-in hybrid developments and electric car projects, said Mitsubishi Motors CEO Osamu Masuko.
The structure of demand in the automotive industry will change, with more demand for small cars, small engines and more environmental cars, Masuko said in an interview with Automotive News Europe.
Masuko acknowledged that Mitsubishi is somewhat at cross-purposes with its product development mission, as it is well-known for its relatively thirsty four-wheel-drive vehicles.
Plug-in hybrids in 2013
Our strength lies in SUVs, so we will continue to produce such vehicles, Masuko said. But the market now requires fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly cars. We will also focus on small cars like Colt, or on electric vehicles.
We want to become the market leader in environmental technology. As a result, we have decided to start research for plug-in hybrid technology next to our all-electric vehicle development, Masuko said.
Masuko said Mitsubishis plug-in hybrid technology will arrive around 2013 in bigger cars such as the lower-medium and upper-medium segments, and in SUVs.
However, Mitsubishis smaller green models will focus only on all-electric propulsion. Currently, there is no plan for an all-electric Colt, as Mitsubishi will put its emphasis on the i MiEV electric vehicle.
Right-hand drive markets will receive the i MiEV in 2010, while left-hand drive markets such as Europe and the US will get the car in 2011.