Due to unexpectedly high demand for the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV in Japan, Mitsubishi has said the Australian launch will be delayed until early next year.
Production of the Australian Outlander PHEV has been pushed back to November at the earliest, which means it will arrive in Australia 8 months later than planned. The Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid was originally due to arrive in showrooms in May, six months after the updated gasoline powered Outlander arrived in October of 2012.
Caitlin Beale, Corporate Communications Manager for Mitsubishi Motors Australia, said 2 of the Outlander PHEVs will arrive for press and marketing activities in June, but the first Australian spec vehicles will be delayed until January 2014.
“It’s a good news story but not for Australia,” she said. “Global demand is so high that our production dates keep pushing back. Production for Australia will now take place in November or December, so we’ll have a launch around then but first customer deliveries won’t happen until at least January.”
Mitsubishi has previously said it is targeting the sub $50,000 starting price and the PHEV version of the Outlander will command a relatively small price premium consistent with $5000 gaps between current model grades. However, Mitsubishi Motors Australia is lobbying for an entry-level version of the SUV with a possible starting price of less than $40,000. The cheapest all-wheel drive Outlander variant costs $33,990 plus on-road costs, the Outlander PHEV ES could be priced as low as $38,990 plus ORCs.
“We don’t see it (the PHEV variant) will have a huge premium,” said Beale. “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.”
If so, that would make the first Australian plug-in hybrid electric SUV much cheaper than the Holden Volt ($59,990 plus ORCs) and the upcoming Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, which will cost about $300,000.
Another interesting piece of information is that Beale said the delay of the Australian launch has nothing to do with the production halt in Japan for the iMiev and the Outlander PHEV due to an investigation into battery fires.
When the Mitsubishi i-MiEV first arrived in Australia, it was originally launched at $70,000 but now costs $48,800 plus ORCs.