Mitsubishi has been in India for almost two decades through a technological tie-up with Hindustan Motors. The popularity of the Lancer in India garnered an impressive popularity, however, as more manufacturers starting entering the Indian automotive market, the company struggled to keep pace with its rivals due to poor aftersales. Eventually, the Japanese carmaker discontinued most of its products and the models sold currently in India, the Pajero Sport and the Montero, are direct imports. Now, the company has a negligible market share, however, all this is set to change in the near future. In a recent conversation with Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan alliance, he stated that 'India is a very big future market for any carmaker and particularly for Mitsubishi', according to Autocar India. What this entails for the country is more cars from the Japanese carmaker in future, however, their earlier tie-up with Hindustan Motors (HM) was restricted only to a product-by-product technical collaboration. This time around though, the company's recent tie-up with the Renault-Nissan alliance, Mitsubishi will have another round of product launches in India. The timeline of when Mitsubishi India will start its official expansion is unclear, but, there would be developments on this soon.
Video: Mitsubishi to soon launch a hatchback in India
According to Ghosn, the company will also look at a CMF-A platform based hatchback, the platform that underpins the Renault Kwid and the Datsun redi-GO. This hints at the bottom-to-top approach for Mitsubishi where the company would start with the hatchback segment, moving up the ladder. The current line-up of the Pajero Sport and the Montero would also, eventually, be replaced with the current generation of cars as well as rebirth of the Lancer in India.
But, Mitsubishi will have to tread carefully and penetrate the Indian car market in a gradual manner, first marking its presence in the compact car space, later on moving towards more expensive offerings. In addition, a good aftersales network with a better experience for the consumer would also bring about a perception change for the company. Although, the move sounds easy, bridging the gap between the company's grand re-entry and consumers acceptance is large which will take time. For reference, in the 2016 JD Power CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index) survey, the company was not listed in the 12 other brands for which the survey was conducted. Currently, the 'underdog' has a lot of ground to cover and very little time.