Yesterday Mitsubish slashed its annual profit forecast by over 50-percent. A strong Yen and a decrease in volume sales in key territories underscores a challenging time for the “raised from the dead” Japanese auto brand. In 2016 Mitsubishi faced a near-death experience when partner Nissan discovered Mitsubishi had been lying about fuel economy figures. The scandal brought Mitsubishi to its knees.
The fuel economy scandal is just a snippet of a timeline and culture of near-death experiences and incidents. But yesterday’s news of a profit shortfall is yet another uncertain footnote for the struggling brand. So how do you avert people’s attention and make the markets and investors less jittery?
You send out a press release for a new product launch. It isn’t any old press release, it’s a press release for a Mitsubishi Mirage. If you are not aware of the Mirage, it’s a pokey, dirt cheap, cheap-feeling supermini very few people buy. It is a mirage by definition.
The updated Mirage will be revealed on November 18 according to today’s press release. We think it’s a convenient distraction to cover for Mitsubishi’s miserable, often self-induced, bad luck. We also think it is a precursor to cover for an iminent bad news cycle.
Why? because the Mitsubishi Mirage 4-door compact sedan pictured is not available for sale in the UK. Why show a car no one in the UK is able to buy. Someone at Mitsubishi PR has been on the jungle juice this morning for sure.