Sales of Mitsubishi Triton up 24% for FY 2021, over 60% first-time owners, mostly ex-sedan owners
Hans · Aug 5, 2022 11:06 AM
Just when you thought that pick-up trucks are becoming too expensive (10 years ago, they used to sell for just slightly over RM 100k), the market is showing us that customers are responding well to the new generation of plusher, lifestyle-oriented (as opposed to workhorse), feature-packed but higher price pick-up trucks.
The most expensive Mitsubishi Triton Athlete 4x4 now costs RM 146,600, while the cheapest Triton 4x4 M/T variant now costs RM 103,200.
Ten years ago, the most expensive Triton VGT variant (RM 105,997 then) sold for the price of today’s cheapest double-cab variant Triton 4x4 MT.
Of course, the Triton then didn’t have any of the collision-avoiding advance driving aids, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatible infotainment, and fancy vicious-coupling locking centre differential Super Select 4WD II of the latest Triton.
Neither did it rode as comfortably as the latest Triton, whose cabin quietness - despite using a diesel engine - rivals many petrol-powered family SUVs, but with more go-anywhere capability.
The Ringgit was also a lot stronger then, but that's another story.
10 years ago, Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia (MMM) was selling around 6,000 Tritons a year and this trend continued until 2019, shortly before the pandemic.
Today, despite the shortage in semiconductor parts and higher prices, MMM is selling more Tritons than before.
For Financial Year 2021 (April 2021 to March 2022), MMM recorded a sharp 24 percent increase in Triton sales.
According to CEO Shinya Ikeda, more than 60 percent of Triton customers are first-time Mitsubishi owners, majority of them had upgraded from a sedan.
This proves that the new Triton’s product concept is succeeding in convincing customers to trade up from their sedan, which is not difficult since this is market trend today anyway, but where the Triton pulled ahead is convincing ex-sedan owners to choose a Triton instead of a typical SUV, which due to a gap in product lifecycles, is a segment that Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia is temporarily unrepresented there.
Interestingly, Mitsubishi’s strategy to grow its market share lies less with aiming for conquest sales from rivals like the Toyota Hilux, Isuzu D-Max or Ford Ranger, but winning over a new group customers who would’ve otherwise not considered a pick-up truck.
In other words, MMM is using the Triton to plough a new field, instead of going head-on against Toyota, Ford, or Isuzu, engaging in a costly price war.
“Migration from other pick-ups is less than 20 percent, I believe it’s 18 or 17 percent. One fourth of total Triton customers are from customers migrating from small sedans. Anyway, 60 percent of Triton customers is, from our view point, new customers and we are very happy with that,” said Ikeda at the sidelines of the Triton Phantom Plus Edition's launch yesterday.
MMM’s ability to increase its total sales (it has since overtaken Nissan to become Malaysia’s 5th best-selling car brand, 3rd best non-national car brand) despite having less models to sell, is a perfect case study of how to sell more with less, thus living up to Mitsubishi Motors “Small but Beautiful” business goal for the mid-term.
In 2019, before the pandemic, MMM had 3 models – Triton, ASX, and Outlander. Today, the company has only 2 models – Xpander and Triton, but MMM ended calendar year 2021 with 17,489 units, more than doubling its pre-pandemic 2019 sales of 8,140 units.
The company discontinued local assembly of its 7-seater Outlander and 5-seater ASX last year. Both models were contract assembled by the Tan Chong Motor Assemblies plant in Segambut.
The Xpander is locally-assembled at Pekan while the Triton is imported from Thailand.
CEO Ikeda would love to sell even more Tritons but the company progress is limited by supply. Like many distributors, securing more units is a daily challenge.
Ikeda says the shortage in semiconductor parts is no longer as bad as before, but the problem is unlikely to go away in 2023 and may even linger longer.
“I believe this semiconductor (shortage) global issue will taper off sooner or later, but still, my personal estimation is that it will still continue for one year, or more,” he said.