Outlander PHEV demand means delays for other countries

Current reports put Japanese order for the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV at around 8000 units, and demand in the Netherlands is more than 10,000. Wow. I think it’s safe to say that demand is outpacing Mitsubishi’s expectations. Mitsubishi is currently building 500 vehicles a week, so at that rate they can only fill the current demand for Japan and Netherlands by the end of the year, let alone any more need from those countries or any of the other countries Mitsubishi said would get the Outlander PHEV in late 2013 and early 2014.

Australians were supposed to get the Outlander PHEV later in 2013, but according to a recent press announcement, Mitsubishi Australia will not get the Outlander PHEV until later next year due to unexpectedly high demand in Japan. The Outlander PHEV was originally due in showrooms in Australia in May, but this announcement means it will arrive up to 8 months later than planned. This likely means the launch in the US in January 2014 will be pushed back as well.

Mitsubishi Australia’s Corporate Communications Manager told press that 2 Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrids will be in Australia for marketing and press activities in June, but the first Australian-spec versions will arrive in January 2014.

There’s also a rumor that Mitsubishi Motors Australia is lobbying hard for an entry-level of the Outlander PHEV that could mean a price of less than $40,000. If the request for an entry-level version was granted, it would bring plug-in hybrid technology to Australian customers for much less than expected. With the entry-level AWD Outlnader costing around $33,390, the Outlander PHEV ES could be priced as low as $38,990. That will make Australia’s first plug-in SUV considerably cheaper than any other PHEV currently available, including Holden’s ($59,990 plus ORCs) and Porsche’s upcoming Panamera S E-Hybrid, which will cost about $300,000.

“We don’t see it (the PHEV variant) will have a huge premium,” said Beale, head of Mitsubishi Motors Australia Communications. “We’re looking at bringing in a low to mid-spec model, and we’re negotiating a similar jump in price as the one that exists between current spec grades.”

Mitsubishi Motors Australia hopes to avoid the issues that Mitsubishi had when the i-Miev electric vehicle was launched. Initially starting at $70,000, the i-Miev now costs $48,800, and still isn’t selling as well as they would like.

The Outlander PHEV will also be available in range-topping Aspire auto form, which currently costs $43,490 in petrol guise and $45,490 with a 2.3-litre diesel engine.

To keep up to date on availability, keep your eye on the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV forum.

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