Mitsubishi continues to struggle in U.S.

While Japanese automakers like Nissan, Toyota, Honda and even Mazda and Subaru have found success in the North American market in the past decade, Mitsubishi continues to struggle.

The Tokyo-based automaker has seen its sales continue to slip, and with few new products on the horizon, a quick recovery is unlikely.

Take Mitsubishi’s Lancer, for example. The once-popular compact sedan was last redesigned in 2007, and now looks and feels dated when compared to similar offerings from competitors. Cars like the Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3, and even the domestic Chevy Cruze are generally much better received by consumers and critics.

Mitsubishi’s revitalization plan in 2006, led by the then-new Lancer and Outback, hasn’t helped much as sales continue to slide. U.S. sales in May 2012, for example, were down 14.4% to a mere 2,187 units sold.

Mitsubishi Motors, however, is not faring as poorly internationally. Non-Japan sales were up 11 percent to 44,693 vehicles in May 2012.

Despite making comments in recent history regarding the uncertainty of its future in North America, Mitsubishi claims it’s still committed to the U.S.

The automaker’s product pipeline for the next few years isn’t very promising — with only one new model on the horizon before 2015.

Can Mitsubishi turn things around in the U.S.? It will need better offerings than it presently has, and will need to avoid flops like the all-electric i-MieV, which has sold poorly and generally rates behind its competitors.

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