By Drew Johnson
Monday, Nov 12th, 2012 @ 4:20 pm
 

Mitsubishi's U.S. lineup has thinned down in recent months - with once-popular models like the Galant and Eclipse heading to the big junk yard in the sky - but the struggling Japanese automaker has plans to add two new nameplates to the market by 2014.

Mitsubishi's U.S. sales are expected to dwindle to just 55,000 units this fiscal year, prompting some to speculate that the company would eventually follow Suzuki's exit from the market. However, Mitsubishi President Osamu Masuko says the company remains committed to the United States and is planning to launch two new nameplates here by 2014.

First up will be the Mirage compact in September 2013. The Mirage's U.S. availability has been rumored for the last couple of years, but Masuko confirmed to Automotive News that Mitsubishi will indeed sell the compact on United States soil.

The U.S.-spec Mirage will be built at Mitsubishi's facility in Thailand. The company is currently expanding the plant's capacity from 150,000 units to 200,000 units in order to cope with U.S demand.

In January 2014 Mitsubishi will launch a plug-in hybrid version of its Outlander SUV. Mitsubishi is shifting focus away from electric vehicles like its i in favor of plug-ins, so it's possible more plug-in models could follow.

"Rather than EVs," Masuko said, "we have greater expectations for plug-ins in the United States."

The gas-powered version of Mitsubishi's all-new Outlander will make its North American debut later this month at the LA auto show.