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Mitsubishi Motors and the 2021 Rebelle Rally

Back in 2018, Mitsubishi Motors started a campaign called the “Small Batch – Big Impact” initiative. The premise was simple – the automaker produced a sample size of the vehicles available in the lineup, and then donated these vehicles to worthwhile causes, usually charities in need of transportation. Mitsubishi has also provided much help in Nashville, TN, the hometown of its new manufacturing plant. In 2019 Mitsubishi Motors got a little gutsy and entered a rally to show what the Eclipse Cross can do. It was the 2019 Rebelle Rally, and the mark Mitsubishi left on team Record the Journey spawned a tradition that continues in October for the 2021 Rebelle Rally.

This race is a continuation of the partnership between Mitsubishi Motors and Record the Journey (RTJ), a military veterans charity dedicated to helping service members transition back into civilian life successfully. RTJ is also involved in advocating for PTSD awareness. Sergeant Major Rachael Ridenour, a U.S. Army combat veteran with 32 years of service, is the RTJ charity founder and served as team navigator during the 2019 Rebelle Rally in a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross and the 2020 Rebelle Rally in a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. This year, the responsibility lies on the shoulders of Selena “Mason” Converse and Erin Mason, and their two-and-a-half year-old German Shepherd, Sammy.

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Mitsubishi Offering Rebadged Models

Mitsubishi Motors has been going through a bit of a crisis in 2021. After picking up the pieces of 2020, and the new business strategy for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance put Mitsubishi at the forefront of which automaker to watch for the next big model of the 21st Century. Since then, all eyes have been on the Japanese automaker with all hopes on the next Lancer or sports car to be produced, especially after the release of the original Starion 4WD concept art. Mitsubishi finally dashed all hopes in late May 2021, when the automaker announced it was putting all of its focus on electric vehicle (EV) development. While it does so, the automaker needs models to put on the market. First, Renault was helping out with a rebadged model to regain footing in the European market, but now, Nissan is also joining the pull.

It’s not a fantastic look for Mitsubishi Motors, let’s be honest. Earlier this year, Mitsubishi decided to pull out of the European market, specifically the UK, before losing more money on developing vehicles with the steering wheel on the right-side of the vehicle (European editions). If anything, Mitsubishi Motors will still be making an appearance in Germany, France, Spain, and Italy – but it might not be a Mitsubishi vehicle at all. In spring 2021, Mitsubishi and Renault announced a deal to release a new Renault vehicle into the European market under the guise of the legendary Mitsubishi Dynamic Front Face Shield, and of course, a Mitsubishi badge.

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The IIHS Awards 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander with TSP+

As we come closer to the end of the year, automakers are going to be introducing the new model year of their vehicles. With the 2021 global semiconductor chip shortage, this will be a chance for some automakers to bounce back, unable to fulfill orders or include certain features on their 2020 models. Aside from fancy features, consumers also care about safety, and automakers will need to rely on organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) for high praise. Neither organization is a push over, so when the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander receives a Top Safety Pick Plus (TSP+) rating from IIHS, the highest safety rating available from the organization, we know it’s a safe vehicle to choose.

Like we said, the IIHS is no pushover. When it comes to testing a vehicle for crashworthiness – or how well it handles a crash – the IIHS has five crash scenarios to test the vehicle’s structure and how well it reduces impact and damage to the driver and passengers inside the cabin. On top of this, safety features and systems designed to mitigate the damage or avoid a crash altogether are also tested. Each crash test receives a rating of “Poor”, “Marginal”, “Acceptable”, or “Good”, whereas the safety systems are rated with “Basic”, “Advanced”, and “Superior”.

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Mitsubishi Scores Highest for Premium Brands in 2021 J.D. Power IQS

Last year, we missed out on many chances to celebrate reviews and awards with the virus causing many areas in the world to quarantine. Kind of makes it hard to get people together and talk about cars. Thankfully, this year is a little more relaxed. Auto shows have resumed, publications and organizations are getting together, and studies are being conducted to find the “best of the best”, the “top ten”, and generally just the best cars currently new and available in the auto market. That brings us to a big name in the industry – J.D. Power & Associates. Having recently completed its 2021 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS), we now have the results for the highest-ranking brands, and kind of surprising but also thrilling – Mitsubishi is at the top for premium auto brands. Shazam!

“The J.D. Power Initial Quality Study provides unparalleled insight into how new vehicle owners feel about their purchase in the critical first few months of ownership…We are thrilled to see that our vehicles deliver the quality and value that Mitsubishi Motors customers expect, and with the current sales success of the all-new 2022 Outlander and redesigned 2022 Eclipse Cross, we are excited for the future.” – Yoichi Yokozawa, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.

On the grand scheme, the auto industry improved by about 2-percent in contrast to 2020, but the usual is 3-percent, so it’s not a huge loss considering 2020 and the semiconductor chip shortage crisis affecting many automakers. Despite this, quality is still a large part of the car-buying process, and how well a vehicle’s initial quality holds up, at least for the first few months before wear-and-tear sets in, and that’s why we have the J.D. Power IQS. Vehicles are scored based on how many problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) during the first 90 days of ownership that owners and lessees of new vehicles experience. A low number equals a high score in this study.

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