Thanks but no thanks. That is what Mitsubishi might be saying to Hindustan Motors for ruining their Indian innings. In a move which was expected but is shocking nonetheless, Mitsubishi has officially axed the Lancer Cedia and Lancer Evo X in India, shifting their complete focus on SUVs. Sales of the Cedia Sports dropped to double digit numbers as a lack of diesel engine made it incompetent in the market. The Lancer Evolution on the other hand was a CBU and carried a sticker price of Rs. 50 lakhs, making it a tough sell infront of German alternatives. Mitsubishi recently pulled the plug on the Evo series globally.
Mitsubishi’s India lineup now consists of the Outlander, Pajero Sport and Montero. Surprise, surprise, last month it was only the Pajero Sport which sold (144 units), with the Outlander and Montero selling 0 units. Yes that is no typo, other than the Pajero Sport, HM-Mitsubishi sold zilch. So what has caused this tumble for the Indo-Japanese alliance?
For starters, its Hindustan Motors themselves, who simply don’t believe in keeping pace with technology. Their lacklustre approach to the collaboration has caused Mitsubishi irrecoverable harm. Circa 1998, the Lancer was launched and boy it was the talk of the town. Mitsubishi was selling such good numbers of the Lancer in India, that its closest competitor (Honda with the first generation City) was worried, very worried.
However Honda did not have to do anything as Mitsubishi shot themselves in the foot. The company failed to update the Lancer, as HM’s philosophy of not updating vehicles for decades because the norm at the Japanese automaker. Now with only one vehicle to rely on, Mitsubishi’s survival in India is under serious threat. The company needs to bid farewell to HM and go solo, otherwise it won’t be long before Mitsubishi will have to pack its bag.
Hindustan Motors on the other hand will be content with sending out press releases stating their sales rose over 90% (280 units to 534 units) but we all know how percentages play out. Where was Hindustan Motors’ press department last month, when they sold 0 units of the Ambassador?