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Mitsubishi plays catch-up with plans to electrify fleet by 2035

March 10, 2023 Updated Fri., March 10, 2023 at 8:20 p.m.

Mitsubishi is the latest auto manufacturer to announce new electrification plans over the next decade, a timeline already embraced by Volkswagen and General Motors.  (Akio Kon/Bloomberg)
Mitsubishi is the latest auto manufacturer to announce new electrification plans over the next decade, a timeline already embraced by Volkswagen and General Motors. (Akio Kon/Bloomberg)
By Nicholas Takahashi Bloomberg

Mitsubishi will electrify 100% of the cars it sells worldwide by fiscal 2035, joining other Japanese automakers seeking to catch up with competitors in the U.S., China and Europe in the global industry’s shift to greener vehicles.

Japan’s seventh-largest carmaker plans to invest as much as ¥1.8 trillion, or $13.1 billion, on electrification by 2030, according to a briefing Friday.

The company also plans to spend ¥210 billion to develop 15 gigawatt hours of battery capacity by 2030, Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Motors said, as it introduced a slew of new models, including nine EVs and hybrid vehicles that will roll out over the next five years.

Mitsubishi, 34% owned by alliance partner Nissan, is the latest auto manufacturer to announce new electrification plans over the next decade, a timeline already embraced by Volkswagen and General Motors. Nissan said last month it would accelerate efforts to electrify its cars by 2026 while Honda announced in 2021 it would no longer sell gasoline-powered cars beyond 2040. Meanwhile, China’s BYD and U.S. pioneer Tesla are fully electric and expanding global sales.

“The next three years represent an opportunity for Mitsubishi Motors to pivot to a new era,” Mitsubishi President Takao Kato said. “We’ve long relied on the synergies and resources made possible by the alliance, and will continue to do so to decarbonize our operations.”

The company also said it’s aiming for sales of 1.1 million units a year and an operating profit of ¥220 billion by fiscal 2025.

Amid the industry shift, Toyota has pledged to offer the “widest possible” array of powertrains to propel cars in a cleaner fashion. Even so, the world’s No. 1 automaker has committed ¥4 trillion to electrify its product lineup, with a target to sell 3.5 million units annually by the end of the decade.

Mitsubishi has been successful with its plug-in hybrid vehicles. The carmaker produced its first EV – the iMiEV – in 2009 followed by the Outlander PHEV in 2013. It announced plans in 2020 to add more electric cars to that lineup.

In January, Mitsubishi’s global production dropped 6% to 84,000 cars. Domestic sales rose 13% to 8,000 vehicles while exports declined 10% to 16,000.

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