Mitsubishi seeks to increase footprint across segments, to launch the Eclipse Cross and Xpander in India
The launch of the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander marks the beginning of a resurgence of sorts for the Japanese manufacturer, as Mitsubishi has been more or less dormant for the past few years in India. Uttam Bose, MD, Hindustan Motors Finance Corporation Limited, confirmed at the launch event that Mitsubishi is keen on expanding operations in India further and has plans to enter smaller segments as well. Bose said that buyers in India preferring SUVS to sedans and hatchbacks is a massive growth opportunity for Mitsubishi in India. Bose also confirmed that the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross and Mitsubishi Xpander are in the pipeline and will be launched in India around 2020. The Eclipse Cross is a smart-looking compact, five-seater crossover that gets bold styling with a front end inspired from the Outlander's, while the shoulder line is angled upwards sharply towards the rear and the tail lights are set high. The Eclipse Cross is powered by a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that produces 152PS and is mated to an 8-speed CVT.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is a stylish looking five seater crossover that will slot in below the Outlander when launched in India
The Eclipse Cross sold internationally also gets most features and equipment seen on new-age compact crossovers including a touchscreen infotainment system, a range of connectivity options and the like, making it an interesting proposition. It is too early to comment on the spec and feature list of the India-bound version, though one can expect Mitsubishi India to spec the Eclipse Cross well, considering its positioning. Given the demand and the popularity of diesels in the segment, Mitsubishi could also look at launching a diesel engined equipped version in India. When launched, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross will take on SUVs like the Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Compass and Mahindra XUV500 in India.
Its high-set tail lamps and sharply raked shoulder line give the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross a very distinctive appearance
The interiors of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross look modern, and the crossover also gets long list of features and equipment
The Mitsubishi Xpander on the other hand is an aggressively-styled, SUV-esque MPV with seven seats. The Xpander is on sale in several south-east Asian countries currently where it is powered by a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine offering 105PS and is mated to either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic gearbox. The Xpander also comes loaded with a long list of equipment and features, which should help is find favour with family car buyers. We expect it to compete with the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and Honda BR-V when launched in India. Of course, it remains to be seen when and in what trims the Eclipse Cross and Xpander come to India, though that's still some time away. Uttam Bose stated clearly that both models will be launched at least two years from now, as he hopes vehicular norms and regulations in India will be a lot more settled by then.
The Mitsubishi Xpander is a seven-seater MPV with a sharp, SUV-like design and high ground clearance
The Japanese manufacturer is also planning to expand its dealer base significantly. Currently, Mitsubishi has 38 touchpoints across the country and the number will increase to about 45 by the end of the calendar year. What's more, Mitsubishi India currently sells three SUVs in India the Outlander, Pajero Sport and the Montero. The Pajero Sport is the only SUV to be assembled locally, while the Outlander and Montero both come in via the CBU route. Mitsubishi is considering local assembly of the Outlander, but that will take some time we're told as Mitsubishi is keen on seeing how much demand there is for the Outlander. For the current financial year, Mitsubishi is aiming to sell 250-300 units of the Outlander in India. Also, considering its alliance with Renault-Nissan, Mitsubishi could look at using former's existing production facility near Chennai for local assembly of the Outlander and future models as well.
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